Toyota Motor Corporation is entering a vehicle equipped with a developmental hydrogen-powered engine (earlier post) at the five-hour-long Super Taikyu Series 2021 Powered by Hankook Round 5 Suzuka S-tai, which takes place this weekend. Just as in Round 3 and Round 4, the vehicle will be entered under the ORC ROOKIE Racing banner, and Toyota President Akio Toyoda will participate in the race as the driver Morizo.
In addition to developing the hydrogen engine further, Toyota is using the race events to focus on broader hydrogen industry and supply chain challenges. In the race at Fuji Speedway, Toyota tried “using" hydrogen; in the race at Autopolis, Toyota tried to expand its options in the area of “producing” hydrogen; in the Suzuka race this time, Toyota is workingon the theme of “transporting” hydrogen.
Specifically, Toyota will use hydrogen produced from Australian lignite to power its vehicle in Round 5; this hydrogen will be transported to and within Japan by a partnership of three companies: Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Iwatani Corporation, and Electric Power Development Co. (J-Power).
Toyota is also working to reduce CO2 emissions generated when transporting hydrogen in Japan by using bio-fuel trucks and fuel cell electric trucks (FCETs).
Transporting hydrogen from overseas. Kawasaki Heavy Industries, which will help Toyota in transporting hydrogen, began constructing hydrogen storage tanks for rocket fuel more than 30 years ago, and has continued to refine its hydrogen technologies since.
In 2016, it has established HySTRA, a technology research association with Iwatani, J-Power, and others, and plans to produce hydrogen economically from Australian lignite, which is abundant and inexpensive to mine, and to transport the hydrogen to Japan.
In FY2022, Toyota will conduct a trial of hydrogen transportation from Australia to Japan using the first liquefied hydrogen carrier, the Suiso Frontier, which was built by combining Kawasaki Heavy Industries’ hydrogen-related technologies and shipbuilding technologies. This trial is not only a transporting challenge, but also a “storing” challenge by turning hydrogen into a liquid. In the mid-2020s, Toyota will also build a large-scale liquefied hydrogen carrier capable of transporting 10,000 tons of hydrogen at a time, and by 2030, the company plans to transport 225,000 tons of hydrogen from Australia as a full-scale commercial supply chain.
Japan is expected to have a need for about 3 million tons of hydrogen in 2030, and about 20 million tons in 2050. As introduction increases, it is necessary to procure hydrogen on a large scale not only from Japan but also from overseas.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Iwatani, and J-Power, are trialing the air transportation of hydrogen from Australia to Japan, and will supply some of the hydrogen to Toyota for the Super Taikyu Series 2021 Round 5 Suzuka S-tai. Through the on-site use of this hydrogen at the race, the three companies and Toyota will share concrete future plans for both transporting and using hydrogen.
In addition, Toyota is considering the use of hydrogen transported by the Suiso Frontier in the Super Taikyu race in 2022. In the mid-2025s, Toyota plans to use hydrogen transported by a large liquefied hydrogen carrier to continue its efforts to help realize a hydrogen society.
Transporting hydrogen within Japan. In Super Taikyu Series 2021 Suzuka S-tai, two types of hydrogen will be used in the hydrogen-powered engine vehicle: lignite-derived hydrogen transported from Australia, and clean hydrogen produced by Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R) in Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture.
The Australian hydrogen will be transported to the Suzuka Circuit by small fuel cell electric trucks (FCETs) of the Commercial Japan Partnership (CJPT), while the FH2R hydrogen will be transported by a bio-fuel truck of Toyota Transport.
Producing, transporting, and using hydrogen at Super Taikyu Series 2021 Round 5 Suzuka S-tai
Improvement of hydrogen-powered engine vehicles. With the aim of speeding up the development of the hydrogen-powered engine vehicle, Toyota participated in the Fuji Super TEC 24 Hours Race and the Super Taikyu Race in Autopolis, and in the month and a half since the race in Autopolis, has been working to improve the vehicle.
Specifically, Toyota has improved the power output to a level equivalent to that of a gasoline engine. As for the filling time, the company has made improvements so that the car can be filled from both sides of the vehicle, reducing the filling time from about three minutes in Autopolis to about two minutes this time.
Additionally, Toyota has introduced a new connected system at the development site, which enables the collection of a large amount of more accurate data at a higher speed. In addition to accelerating development with connected technology, Toyota would like to train the connected technology in the harsh environment of motorsports, and apply the lessons learned from this initiative to the making of better cars and development of services in the future.