Toyota’s New Racecar Skips Fuel Cells & Just Burns Hydrogen ( + Why This Might Be Helpful)

As CleanTechnica’s readers are probably well aware, Toyota treats hydrogen the same way my cats treat their catnip. It’s an obsession, and maybe an addiction. On the other hand, the Japanese government seems to be favoring the use of hydrogen vehicles, and that’s playing a factor. What I didn’t expect was to see that Toyota is spending money to develop hydrogen combustion engines, which burn it instead of using a fuel cell. Let’s talk about Toyota’s racing/development program, why the company is doing this, and then look at the advantages and disadvantages of the technology.

A week or so ago, Toyota announced that it is developing a hydrogen combustion engine as part of its efforts to achieve a “carbon neutral mobility society,” and that a race car using the engine would start racing in May. Toyota says it feels the engine is under-developed, but that running it through the strain of racing would help the company improve it.

The basic idea behind a hydrogen combustion engine is pretty simple. You basically have a regular gas combustion engine and put hydrogen into it instead of gasoline vapor. To make it work as well as possible, a bunch of small changes need to be made, of course, but the combustion concept doesn’t change at all. Intake, compression, ignition, and exhaust (suck, squeeze, bang, blow) is how this works, just like most others.

Toyota put together a little animation showing all this:

Read more here.