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Liquid hydrogen-powered Corolla to race in Super Taikyu Fuji 24 Hours; improvements to hydrogen piping

Toyota will enter the ENEOS Super Taikyu Series 2023 Round 2 NAPAC Fuji SUPER TEC 24 Hours Race, to be held from May 26 to 28, with the #32 ORC ROOKIE GR Corolla H2 Concept (hydrogen-powered Corolla) running on liquid hydrogen. (Earlier post.) It is the first time in the world that a vehicle will race with liquid hydrogen fuel.

The liquid hydrogen-powered Corolla was scheduled to compete for the first time at Round 1 Suzuka Super Taikyu 5 Hours Race held on March 18 and 19. However, during a private test run at Fuji International Speedway on March 8, a vehicle fire occurred due to a hydrogen leak from a gaseous hydrogen pipe in the engine compartment. As the vehicle could not be recovered in time, Toyota was forced to abandon the race. (Earlier post.)


In the two months since missing Suzuka, the design of the hydrogen piping that caused the vehicle fire has been changed, with safety as the highest priority. These changes included (1) moving the hydrogen piping away from hot areas, and (2) installing safety covers on the hydrogen piping joints to prevent loosening and to catch and lead hydrogen to detectors in the event of a leak.

Toyota also succeeded in reducing the vehicle weight by more than 50 kg over the past two months, leading to it exceeding the lap times of the hydrogen engine-equipped Corolla when it first competed in May 2021 using gaseous hydrogen fuel.

A portion of the liquid hydrogen being used in the hydrogen engine-equipped Corolla is lignite-derived hydrogen produced and transported from Australia in February 2022 by the Suiso Frontier liquid hydrogen carrier built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. (KHI) as part of the HySTRA project.

The mobile liquid hydrogen station that will be used at the circuit was jointly developed by Iwatani Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation. By using liquid hydrogen as fuel, equipment that was previously necessary to produce compressed gaseous hydrogen, such as compressors and pre-coolers for cooling hydrogen are no longer needed. As a result, the required station installation area can be a quarter the size of that for gaseous hydrogen stations, and fuel can be refilled in the pit area in the same way as for gasoline-powered vehicles. In addition, since there is no longer the need to pressurize when filling, multiple vehicles can be filled in succession.

The vehicle’s fuel supply system has been changed to a liquid hydrogen system in conjunction with the change from gaseous to liquid hydrogen. However, the engine itself is the same engine as when the vehicle was running on gaseous hydrogen.

Since the energy density per volume is increased by changing the fuel to liquid hydrogen, the cruising range has been doubled with the same filling time as before, approximately 1.5 minutes. Toyota will strive to further improve engine performance, cruising range, and filling time throughout the year.

However, liquid hydrogen must be kept at temperatures lower than -253 ˚C during filling and storage. This poses unique challenges in areas such as developing fuel pump technology that can function in a low-temperature environment, preventing hydrogen from naturally evaporating from the tanks, and establishing regulations for vehicle-mounted hydrogen tanks. Toyota will continue to work on overcoming these challenges with the cooperation of its partners in the areas of producing, transporting, and using hydrogen.

Both gaseous and liquid hydrogen have unique advantages and challenges, with gaseous hydrogen having the advantage of having a simpler system configuration. Toyota will continue to focus on developing both gaseous and liquid hydrogen to increase fuel supply options and make the most of their unique characteristics.

Advantages of Liquid Hydrogen Challenges with Liquid Hydrogen
Increased energy density and cruising range Must be kept at temperatures lower than -253 ˚C
Smaller hydrogen stations (can be filled in the pit) Preventing hydrogen from evaporating due to heat in the tank
Doesn’t need to be pressurized, allowing for multiple vehicles to be refilled in succession Fuel pump technology that can function at -253 ˚C

Toyota is able to race in this year’s Fuji 24 Hours Race with the liquid hydrogen-powered Corolla thanks to the cooperation of its many partners. Toyota will continue to conduct joint research with Kyoto University, the University of Tokyo, and Waseda University on technologies to reduce the weight of the engines and the size of liquid hydrogen systems in order to create ever-better cars going forward.

Joint Research Technology University
Superconducting motor technology for automotive use liquid hydrogen pumps Kyoto University, University of Tokyo, Waseda University
Centrifugal pump technology for automotive use liquid hydrogen Waseda University



This is the sort of grind and incremental improvement which turns bright ideas and early developments into everyday practicality, and is exactly where Toyota excells.

Motor sports may be a minor applications, but any advance or improvement in the safety and reliability of handling hydrogen has advantages for a host of industries, from aviation to trucking to fertiliser production.


Im not interrested to buy a cold dangeurous liquid hydrogen car and thus i won't watch the race on sport tv.


LOL. No, this just PR

Roger Pham

LH2 is best for airplanes and race cars that consume the fuel rapidly all in 1 trip. LH2 is very light, thus would be of great benefit for aviation and for racing.

For daily commuting car, compressed H2 would be more practical. Even better would be a plug-in hybrid running on compressed H2. Daily driving would be from electricity, then long-distance would use compressed H2. This would preserve the high efficiency of BEV with the rapid fill-up of ICEV and zero-emission of BEV.

Engine-burning-H2 PHEV would be the best combination overall: Economy of BEV, rapid fill-up of ICEV, zero-emission of BEV and of FCEV but retaining the low-cost of a hybrid EV.

RP> but retaining the low-cost of a hybrid EV.

Even Toyota is on record as saying that hydrogen PHEV was neither practical (weight, volume) nor could be made cost effective.

OP>. Challenges with Liquid Hydrogen: Must be kept at temperatures lower than -253 ˚ C

You gotta give Toyota credit for not shirking from the big challenges…

-253 degrees celsius = -423.4 degrees fahrenheit


@electric car insider:

In that case you should also credit others for thinking that liquid hydrogen is a do-able and worthwhile energy vector.

The list includes:

ie just about every company involved in heavy road transport or aerospace

But what do any of them know about transport or engineering?

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