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Toyota, Others Test Stinky Fuel Technology

Consortium of Japanese companies dips its toe into fuel-cell technology that extracts hydrogen from human sewage.

By Claire_Martin Sep 12, 2012 12:51PM
This week, a group of Japanese companies including Toyota, Japan Blue Energy and Mitsui Chemicals began testing a low-cost hydrogen-extraction technique that recycles human sewage. Their plan is to commercialize hydrogen production by 2015. 

The new project's basic process involves human sewage that is dried in multiple stages using heated aluminum-oxide balls. This generates methane, which is then reheated, releasing high concentrations of hydrogen gas. The technique reportedly cuts carbon emissions by 75 percent compared with traditional hydrogen production techniques, including the liquefaction of fossil fuels. It also recycles human sewage, which is typically incinerated in Japan.

The process is different from another waste-based Japanese automotive project we reported on recently -- the so-called Toilet Bike, which uses biogas created from animal excrement. The Toyota group's concept will involve higher-volume production and will be used in conjunction with existing hydrogen fuel-cell technology, the use of which is expected to increase in coming years. According to Autonews, Honda and Toyota, among other automakers, are planning to launch new fuel-cell vehicles soon.

The Toyota consortium will build a network of hydrogen plants across Japan over the next couple of years and launch a hydrogen-making business by 2015.

[Sources: Autonews, Nikkei]
4Comments
Sep 18, 2012 3:19AM
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Sewage and Toyota.  Now THERE'S two words that definitely belong together!
Sep 14, 2012 5:41AM
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It can't be. The central planning department here in Moscow, er I mean Washington DC, has already decided for us that electric cars are the future.
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