I noticed a commercial the other day for Honda and their new small jets.
As the commercial ended, it closed with the rhetorical question of
Why do you think we've always had wings?
With this announcement, the question is even more provocative.
Honda’s new business venture: solar power
Carmaker had been testing,
even as way to produce hydrogen for fuel cells
MSNBC staff and news service reports
Dec. 19, 2005
TOKYO - Describing itself as “the first automaker to enter into solar cell business,” Honda Motor Co. said on Monday it plans to start mass-producing solar cells in 2007, eyeing growing demand for environmentally friendly energy sources.
Japan’s third-biggest automaker said in a statement it would build a new factory for thin-film solar cells on the site of a car plant in Kumamoto prefecture, on the southwestern Japanese island of Kyushu.
The company said it aims to generate annual sales of $40 million to $70 million from solar cells once the factory’s output reaches full annual capacity of 27.5 megawatts, enough to power about 8,000 households.
Honda will be competing with major solar cell manufacturers such as Kyocera, Sharp and Mitsubishi Electric Corp.
Solar for hydrogen?
Honda has been testing the thin-film solar cells at 13 facilities, most in Japan but also in Thailand and Torrance, Calif., where its North American operations are headquartered.
The U.S. project uses solar power to get hydrogen from water, thereby powering vehicles that run on fuel cells. The technology is still prohibitively expensive, but researchers have lowered costs significantly in recent years.
A Honda spokeswoman did not say when the factory would hit full capacity and declined to disclose the size of the investment, which the Nihon Keizai business daily estimated would be just short of $100 million.
Less CO2 in production
Honda said its solar cells would be composed of non-silicon compound materials, consuming half as much energy and generating 50 percent less carbon dioxide during production when compared with conventional solar cells made from silicon.
Many scientists tie manmade carbon dioxide emissions to global warming. The company aims to sell the solar cells for both residential and industrial use.
It will initially target the Japanese market."
By using thin film made from a compound of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS), Honda’s next-generation solar cell achieved a major reduction in energy consumed during the manufacturing process to approximately 50% of that required by conventional crystal silicon solar cells.
Honda claims further that this solar cell has achieved the highest level of photoelectric transfer efficiency to date for a thin film solar cell, almost equivalent to the conventional crystal silicon solar cell.
The mass production of Honda’s thin film solar cell became possible with a new mass production process developed by Honda Engineering – a production engineering company that has long developed production equipment and technologies for Honda’s various products.
This commitement from Honda shows the remarkable difference between Japanese and American auto makers.
Can you imagine Ford making such an announcement?
Makes you wonder who won the war.
And who will win the next one.
Those who believe it will be won with boots on the ground?
Or those who know we must open our wings,
And make war no more.
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