Moon: Toyota tries out a fuel cell that could be used on Earth

Toyota fuel cell moon

Moon: Toyota tries out a fuel cell that could be used on Earth

The carmaker has given a progress report on the hydrogen-powered lunar rover it is preparing for the Japanese space agency (JAXA). The rover will include a new type of fuel cell that could eventually be used on Earth.

In a presentation, project leader Ken Yamashita highlighted what he calls Regenerative Fuel Cells (RFC). These are designed to provide the rover with a source of energy during lunar nights, which last about 14 days. The system developed by Toyota combines the production of hydrogen by electrolysis during the day (in collaboration with marine technologies from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries), hydrogen storage and its use at night by fuel cells to generate electricity.

Toyota Fuel Cell

The Japanese manufacturer is highlighting the fact that its regenerative fuel cell solution (with water and hydrogen storage) is more compact and lighter than lithium-ion batteries. That’s why it can be fitted on board vehicles. From this to thinking that land vehicles could generate their own electrolysis using the sun’s energy there is but a small step… A step that Toyota is not taking yet. On the other hand, using water and the sun could make it possible to power at least boats, as well as nomadic equipment (for refugee camps, in the event of natural disasters).

Regarding the vehicle, the technologies used on the moon (autonomous driving, dead reckoning navigation based on sensors and the position of the stars, off-road driving on airless tyres) could also be used on Earth.

The rover is due to be launched in 2029 and has been designed to last 10 years (or 10,000 km).

Here’s our latest article about the future project that Honda will be developing on the moon.

Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Logan King 

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About the author

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Logan King

After an unusual career (3 years in the French army followed by a 3-year degree in Applied Foreign Languages), it was my passion for environmental issues that finally caught up with me and led me to join Seiya Consulting and H2 Today in June 2022. First as an end-of-study internship, then as Marketing & Communication Manager and translator at Hydrogen Today.

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