Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and Leave a Nest Co., Ltd. Next Generation Hydrogen Education Project
“Next Generation Hydrogen Education Project” Lets Children Experience Hydrogen Energy and Look for Solutions for the Future
The “Next Generation Hydrogen Education Project” was launched in 2015 by Honda and Leave a Nest Co., Ltd. Through classes at elementary, junior high and high schools and universities, environmental events run by local governments and Honda fan events, it allows the next generation to experience hydrogen energy hands-on, as well as encouraging them to think about the future. Started by just three people, what has this project achieved so far, and how has it evolved?
Hydrogen experiment class at Enjoy Honda 2018 HSR Kyushu
On March 31 and April 1, 2018, “Enjoy Honda 2018 HSR Kyushu,” an annual fan appreciation event, was held at Honda Safety & Riding Plaza Kyushu adjacent to Honda’s Kumamoto Factory.
The grand event, built around the catchphrase “Watch, Play, Experience,” offers a host of fun programs for children and adults alike. Using up the entirety of the large property, it features exhibitions and test drives of the latest motorcycle, automobile, and power products models; racing performances on the circuit; kid karts; and even mock trial riding.
Among these Enjoy Honda programs is the “hydrogen experiment class,” a new program for children begun in 2017. While most participants are elementary school children, preschoolers also join along with their parents.
In this class, children use their own hands to do everything from assembling to fueling and to actually running a miniature fuel cell vehicle (FCV). Through this experience, the children learn about the existence and unique qualities of hydrogen as an energy source and get a feel for the possibilities that hydrogen offers.
The class begins when a professor donning a white lab coat enters the room and commences the experiment. First, the children hold a hydrogen-filled spray can to feel its lightness. They spray some hydrogen on their palms to get a smell of it, finding that hydrogen is odorless. Next comes assembly. The children fill a syringe—their “hydrogen tank”—with hydrogen and mount it to the mini-FCV along with a micro fuel cell, connecting the two with a hose. Lastly, they connect fuel cell and motor with an electric cord. When they open the valve and press the syringe, hydrogen is fed to the fuel cell, sending the mini-FCV gliding across the table.
Enjoy Honda 2018 HSR Kyushu, held at Honda Safety & Riding Plaza Kyushu
The hydrogen experiment class was held as part of the “What?! Why?! Exciting Energy Class” program
Children assemble their own mini-FCVs with the professor’s assistance
Funny and kind, the professor teaches children about hydrogen energy
A hydrogen-filled syringe is connected to the mini-FCV. Pressing the syringe starts the car moving
Observing firsthand the mini-FCV they assembled themselves actually run on hydrogen is a delightful experience for the children, who proceed to fill and drive the car over and over again. The experience is a formative one in relation to hydrogen energy, preparing the next generation for the hydrogen-based society of the future.
Enjoy Honda is scheduled to be held nine times at locations across Japan in fiscal 2018, with the hydrogen experiment class held at every event.
Hydrogen experiment class at Seiryo Senior High School
Hydrogen experiment class held at Seiryo Senior High School in Kanazawa
Mini-FCV assembly is reminiscent of childhood model-making
Female students also seemed to enjoy the experiment
Students race their mini-FCVs at the end of the class
Enjoy Honda is not the only occasion for hydrogen experiment classes. They’re also taught at environmental events organized by local governments, and by Honda staff on a visiting basis at high schools and other schools.
One such class was held at Seiryo Senior High School in Kanazawa, Ishikawa, on February 17, 2018. Some 60 freshmen who had voluntarily signed up for the class gathered in a science lab, where a Honda staff member instructed them on assembling and driving a mini-FCV. The students learned about the characteristics of hydrogen energy and its potential uses.
Hydrogen and oxygen react to make water, and this reaction generates electricity. Senior high students in Japan have already learnt this principle at junior high school, but being able to feel hydrogen gas on the palm of their hands and experience how the energy is harnessed by running a FCV is a fresh experience. The experiment of building and racing FCVs is like making models and playing as children, and the smiling students all look like they are having a great time. Seeing their reaction, Honda staff looks equally happy. It’s that kind of class.