Hydrogen wants to keep combustion engines alive. And everything that opposes it, including hydrogen

jump to Electric car This, for many people, is the only way. And there are those who believe that this technology will not prevail, despite the fact that the European Union has already approved the ban on the sale of combustion engine vehicles, because a future Euro 7 regulation will put little electrified propellers on Cables.

Along the way, we read that the EU will keep them for synthetic fuels, when they have to meet requirements that seem complicated today. And with this proposal, which is supported in Germany or Italy, comes a few others.

For example, the use of hydrogen. This piqued the interest of Hyundai, but also of Stelantis, who showed us their fuel cell vans. At the moment, refueling is expensive and above all, what is the transport complicate its extension, But there is another way. A path in which the combustion engine and hydrogen travel side by side. Whether this road ends at Nani’s House or the Wolf’s Cave, only time will tell.

part of a strategy

Toyota, which is already immersed in hydrogen vehicles with its Toyota Mirai, is exploring new ways to use it. In June, we learned that Yamaha would also join them in their search for a V8 combustion engine that could be powered by hydrogen.

Over the years, Toyota has been one of the companies that has made the most of electrification. Your Toyota Prius is the best example of this. A strategy strongly rejected even by the most fervent sports car fans, who repeatedly criticized the Japanese firm for “making washing machines” or “making tools with wheels”.

For several years, Toyota has wanted to change its image. The launch of their Toyota GT86, a reinvention of the current Toyota GR86, Toyota GR Supra or Toyota GR Yaris, from the recent World Rally Championship. And its advances in hydrogen combustion engines are no coincidence.

Yamaha, which has been exploring this path for five years, and Toyota are studying the feasibility of a powerful The 5.0-liter V8 develops 450 hp. with Which looks like a bygone era. And not just as a metaphor, one of the great inducements used to champion the development of these engines is precisely this: their sound.

“Everyone who came to test the prototype was a little skeptical, but they finally had a big smile on their face. Looking at it, I began to believe that the unique characteristics of the hydrogen engine really had great potential. . . My colleague Carlos Prego echoed the words of Takeshi Yamada, a member of the Japanese firm’s technical research and development center team.

dispel many doubts

The intrinsic motivation he now has at Toyota must continue to fuel him with new results. And although the project is taking its first steps, it seems difficult for us to see hydrogen heat engine Like something more than a propeller designed by and for the greatest lovers of sporty driving and its sensations.

In its tests, Toyota also placed its CEO, Aikido Toyoda, To drive one of the Toyota Corollas Competition with those who test these propellants. The Fuji 24 Hours was the perfect setting to test this new line of development.

And the results don’t look so good. Liquid hydrogen is used to power the cylinders of these cars, but despite this carry 180 liters On top of that, the Corolla had to stop to refuel every 10 laps. Or, what amounts to the same thing, every 40 or 45 kilometers. In fact, during the race, it stood still, just refueling, for a full four hours. In all, he needed 35 pit stops to complete the entire race.

Although liquid hydrogen combustion engines sound like the propellers that sports car enthusiasts love, they help keep some mechanical masterpieces alive. But unfortunately, they are very ineffective.

Guile García Alfonsín, engineer and automotive expert, explains in a Twitter thread that to bring hydrogen to a liquid state, a big energy expenditure And in addition, this type of propellant is about four times less efficient than a fuel cell.

They have this complex… at least in Europe

In addition to their efficiency, hydrogen thermal engines have another problem: they continue to emit polluting emissions. That is, they face the same problem as engines running on synthetic fuel.

With its operation, this type of thrusters continue to emit NOx And they are not exempt from the fact that part of the oil used in lubrication leaks into the combustion chamber, producing CO and PMx (particulate matter in suspension). Fine particles (PMx 2.5) are of particular concern to the European Union, which is also looking for solutions to regulate the triggering of braking.

Toyota, on the other hand, says it wants to go carbon neutral by 2050, so either these engines are going too far or, conversely, their industry isn’t happening. In Europe, of course, the decisions that have been made capture any technology that is not an electric vehicle and, while possible, selling a combustion engine in a new car after 2035 seems too complicated. East.

However, it should not be forgotten that, EuropeThe automotive industry neither begins nor ends. In fact, even European commissioners have encouraged European companies to continue developing combustion engines for foreign markets. It remains to be seen in what position the rest of the market is positioned, even if China has found a mine to exploit with an electric vehicle.

In Japan, the commitment to hydrogen is frozen, but one wonders why the fuel cell, much more efficient than these thermal engines and with the expulsion of water vapor through the exhaust pipe, could lead to this new path opened up by Toyota. Not everything is there to dominate. , For example, from Honda itself, they consider the strategy to be bad.

success or number of these engines Powered by hydrogen, time will tell, but, again, it looks like it will be used, if so, again for specific, real-life hypotheses.

Kevin A. Perras