City sewage to power Toyota’s electric car

Toyota is converting human waste into hydrogen to fuel a new prototype car. At the Fukuoka Water Processing Plant, micro organisms are added to sewage to break down the waste […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Toyota is converting human waste into hydrogen to fuel a new prototype car.

At the Fukuoka Water Processing Plant, micro organisms are added to sewage to break down the waste and create biogas. It consists of 60% Methane and 40% Carbon Dioxide.

The CO2 is filtered out and water vapour is added to create hydrogen and more CO2. These are separated again to get the pure hydrogen.

The Fukuoka plant currently produces 300 kilograms of hydrogen per day, enough to fuel 65 of its Mirai hydrogen vehicles. If all the biogas produced by the plant were converted to hydrogen, that number would jump to 600 full tanks.

 

The Mirai is currently Toyota’s only hydrogen car and a full tank of hydrogen gives it a range of 312 miles.

Using wastewater is a very sustainable way to make hydrogen, especially in big cities, where there are a lot of people producing a lot of sewage.

Marc Melaina, Senior Engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Denver, said: “It’s not a new or advanced technology. In India, they have loads of biogas plants in villages and such that are just part of their energy infrastructure.”