Toyota Completes First Tests Running on Liquid Hydrogen
Toyota is a big car company from Japan that has started making cars that run on electricity stored in batteries. However, Toyota is also still working on making cars that run on hydrogen gas. They are doing this by developing different types of technology, like fuel cells and engines that use hydrogen as fuel. Toyota is still interested in using hydrogen to power small cars, even though most other car companies have given up on this idea.
Toyota has made some experimental cars that use engines that can run on hydrogen gas. They believe they have made good progress in developing this technology, and they think they are about 40% of the way to being able to sell cars that use hydrogen engines. However, there are still some difficult problems that need to be solved before they can make these cars available to customers.
Making hydrogen gas in a way that doesn’t harm the environment requires a lot of energy. It takes more energy to make hydrogen than it does to charge an electric car’s battery directly with electricity. If we use hydrogen in an engine instead of a fuel cell, even more energy is wasted because hydrogen doesn’t work as well in an engine as it does in a fuel cell.
It’s important to remember that even with hydrogen-powered cars like the Mirai, some emissions still occur, including NOx, particles, and some carbon dioxide. Another problem with using hydrogen in cars is that the tanks needed to store it take up a lot of space. In the Mirai, three large 142-liter tanks are needed to get a range of 650 km. If a car with a hydrogen-powered engine were to use a regular combustion engine instead, the tanks would have to be even larger taking up a lot more space and reducing the car’s overall range.
An even less efficient solution
Toyota is working on a solution to the problem of large hydrogen tanks taking up too much space in cars. They are trying a new approach using liquid hydrogen instead of gaseous hydrogen. Toyota has previously competed in Japanese races using a car called the GR Corolla, which was powered by gaseous hydrogen. However, they are now developing a new car that will run on liquid hydrogen, intending to compete in the 2023 Super Taikyu racing season, which starts later this month.
Toyota has already tested a version of the GR Corolla that can use liquid hydrogen as fuel at the Fuji Speedway race track. They simulated real racing conditions during the tests, including refueling the car within a designated period. The car’s driver, Masahiro Sasaki, said that they are working hard to develop this technology, which is considered difficult to use in cars and involves dealing with extremely low temperatures of -253ºC. They believe that using liquid hydrogen could be a way to make internal combustion engines more sustainable in the future.
Liquid hydrogen must be kept at a low temperature of -252.87ºC to maintain its liquid state, which is an expensive process. However, the advantage of using liquid hydrogen as a fuel is that it takes up less space in the tanks compared to gaseous hydrogen. Toyota is still facing some challenges in developing cars that use liquid hydrogen, but they believe that will be able to overcome these hurdles and use this technology in production cars shortly. They hope that work on liquid hydrogen reflected in their future car models.