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At the Tokyo Motor Show this year, the Swedish Embassy, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) organized a one-day symposium on “Future Environmental Challenges for the Automotive Industry”. (Presentations are available here.)

Hasse Johansson, Group Vice President and Head of R&D for Scania, spoke on Reducing emissions with better engine technology. In running through his deck, I was startled to note the use of the projections on global peak oil production from the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO). (Earlier post.)

While I’ve heard talk from automakers about the general need to reduce dependency on petroleum, this is the first direct use of the ASPO estimates—and hence acknowledgment of the possible imminence of peaking—I’ve seen from within the industry.

(ASPO has accelerated its projected date for global peak production to 2007, as of its December newsletter.)

Johansson had been sketching out the importance of the diesel in heavy transport and describing the advances in emissions control over the preceding number of years. And then he touched on the oil issue and his view of the importance of GTL fuel.

The key question, in Mr Johansson’s view, concerned the source of fuel for these engines. “The world is now consuming the second half of all accessible oil and at a higher pace than ever before,” he warned. One alternative fuel seemed to have great potential, not least because it would allow the inherent benefits of diesel engines to continue to be exploited. This was synthetic fuel produced from various raw materials such as biomass, waste and natural gas.

A summary of the symposium is here.


Norm Erickson

Who is looking at the Reg Technology Axial Vane rotary engine? Looks like a natural for efficient hybrid car design. Compact, lightweight, simple, high hp:weight ratio, etc.

See it at www.regtech.com

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