Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE in Cold Weather Testing in Hokkaido, Japan
21 February 2007
|Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE during cold weather testing. Click to enlarge.|
Mazda Motor Corporation is joining forces with the Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau (HRDB) to test the cold weather performance of its Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE (earlier post). The tests are scheduled to run from 19 to 23 February 2007.
Employing a dual-fuel system, the Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE can run on either high-pressure hydrogen gas or gasoline, allowing the car to be driven in remote areas where hydrogen fueling stations are not readily available, easing driver concerns about running out of fuel.
|Hydrogen injection in the RENESIS engine. Click to enlarge.|
The RENESIS Hydrogen RE incorporates an electronically controlled hydrogen gas injector system. The system draws air from the side port during the intake cycle and uses hydrogen injectors in each of the engine’s twin rotor housings to directly inject hydrogen into the intake chambers.
For the tests involving the hydrogen rotary-engine vehicle provided by Mazda, only the tires have been changed to suit the cold weather. The vehicle is otherwise identical to the model which currently available for commercial lease. Mazda began leasing the hydrogen car in February 2006. (Earlier post.)
This cold weather testing coincided with the Environment and Transport Symposium on Hydrogen Energy that is being held in Muroran city, Hokkaido Prefecture, on 21 February. Participants in the symposium had a chance to ride in the RX-8 Hydrogen RE and attend a briefing session. The HRDB is a division of Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT).
We plan to demonstrate that vehicles powered by Mazda’s unique hydrogen rotary engine are very practical even in cold regions. Since hydrogen cars with rotary engines are relatively cheap to produce and can also run on ordinary gasoline, we believe they will have an important role to play as we move closer to a hydrogen energy society.—Akihiro Kashiwagi, Mazda’s program manager in charge of hydrogen rotary engine development
|Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE|
|Engine||RENESIS hydrogen rotary|
|Power||154 kW (206 hp)||80 kW (107 hp)|
|Torque||222 Nm||140 Nm|
|Fuel tank||61 liters (16 gallons US)||110 liters@35 Mpa (350 bar)|
|Range||549 km (341 miles)||100 km (62.1 miles)|
The HRDB is conducting feasibility studies into the uses of hydrogen in snowy climates. These include plans to conduct various cold weather tests in and around Muroran city and neighboring Noboribetsu city. Both cities are in Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan’s northernmost island. This region produces abundant volumes of byproduct hydrogen and is therefore one of the most feasible locations in Hokkaido for a hydrogen fuel network.
The Environment and Transport Symposium on Hydrogen Energy was organized by the HRBD and the Town Level Research Committee to Utilize Hydrogen in the Muroran Area. The symposium participants represented local industry, academia and government, and met to discuss the possible uses of hydrogen in transportation.
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