Japanese Automakers’ Association to Explore Clean ICE Potential

Toyota has joined with other Japanese automakers to establish an organization tasked with finding new fuels to allow ICE powertrains to take part in lowering greenhouse gases.

It has joined a consortium including Suzuki, Subaru, Daihatsu, ENEOS Corporation and Toyota Tsusho to set up the Research Association of Biomass Innovation for Next Generation Automobile Fuels to study ways to optimize the process for producing fuel. Toyota stresses that “it is crucial to provide diverse energy options to meet the needs of many different regions and customers in order to achieve carbon neutrality”. It points to the need to use hydrogen and synthetic fuels based on electricity from renewable energy sources, as well as bioethanol fuel able to reduce CO2 emissions through photosynthesis in plants, are promising options, and their effectiveness has been confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This Research Association promotes technological research on the use of biomass, as well as the efficient production of bioethanol fuel for automobiles through the optimized circulation of hydrogen, oxygen, and CO2 during production to achieve a carbon-neutral society. Specific research areas are outlined are:

  • Efficient ethanol production systems: with the aim of improving production technology for second generation bioethanol fuel that does not compete with food, the association will design, install, and operate production facilities, identify issues with production, research solutions and study ways to improve the efficiency of production systems;
  • By-product oxygen, CO2 capture and use: the association will study how to use the high concentration of oxygen generated as a by-product during hydrogen production as well as the CO2 generated during bioethanol fuel production;
  • Efficient operation of the overall system, including fuel use: the association will investigate the issues involved with using bioethanol fuel obtained through the research program in vehicles and explore solutions. It will also study model formulas that can make predictions of both raw material cultivation production volumes and fuel production volumes;
  • Raw material crop cultivation methods: the association will develop a system that proposes optimal cultivation methods for maximizing yield and optimizing crop components to secure raw materials for bioethanol fuels. It will aim to improve the accuracy of crop yield productions through soil composition surveys and other methods.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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