Is a new dawn about to break for environmentally friendly transportation fuel?

The future transport fuel of the world may just have been announced by Toyota with the launch of their new

Toyota's Hydrogen Power Car

Toyota’s Hydrogen Power Car

“model”. This revolutionary car has a driving range that is similar to petrol and diesel cars; it can be refueled in under five minutes, and in terms of fuel emissions – it emits water!

Toyota’s CEO, Akio Toyoda, boasts that this is the car that gives you everything without any compromises. It conjures up visions of a future world that will be greener and less polluted for all.

Chains of Hydrogen powered fuel cell refueling stations

In an announcement that could have petroleum companies anxiously looking behind them, the CEO of Toyota North America, Jim Lentz, has spoken of the financial backing initiative Toyota is making. It is to assist with the installation of 12 refueling stations in 5 North-eastern states across the USA. Sites will include Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersy, New York, and Rhode Island.

Toyota makes initial investment of $7.3 million with more to come

Toyota has already put forward $7.3 million, helping to fund 19 hydrogen refueling stations across southern California. The partner company they are working with is First Element Fuel, a new company formed specifically to provide the hydrogen delivery system for the new breed of fuel cell driven vehicles. Their partner company in the Northeast is Air Liquide.

Road haulage trucks and hydrogen fuel injection technology

Trucks fitted with hydrogen fuel injection (HFI) systems are already in use in the USA. They are often used in the exhibition industry for moving huge booth materials from venue to venue for trade shows such as the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). These materials often have to be transported thousands of miles their next destination. It’s an expensive business, and fuel costs are a major contributor. This is where HFI technology can help considerably with the added bonus that it has a smaller carbon footprint too.

Intel utilize HFI technology

Computer chip giants Intel regularly utilize three trucks fitted with these hydrogen fuel injected (HFI) systems. They are used for transporting trade-show materials across North America between shows such as the aforementioned CES and the IDF (Intel developer Forum). The journeys span huge distances, the likes of Florida to Canada. A normal non-HFI truck would average somewhere between 5 and 6 miles per gallon. A truck fitted with an HFI system typically averages around 6.3 mpg. One HFI truck journey across California averaged 7.2 mpg offering a much improved mpg rate and a significant reduction in terms of its carbon footprint.

HFI technology improves traditional fuel consumption

HFI is a hydrogen on-demand fuel system that is designed and manufactured by Hydrogen Injection Technology Inc (HIT). It works by injecting hydrogen into the air intake system of trucks where it is mixed with diesel in the truck’s combustion chamber. Hydrogen burns up to 10 times faster than diesel. When mixed with diesel in this way, it results in the modified fuel being burnt faster and more economically.

The costs and benefits of HFI technology

An HIT HFI system costs on average approximately $16,000 plus installation. According to HIT, a company can save on average between $10,000 and $16,000 per year in fuel. Once the cost of the initial investment is covered, the savings go straight to the bottom line, plus, of course, the benefits in terms of carbon footprint and energy conservation. The only drawback, of course, is that the trucks still use diesel; something that the new fuel cell technology incorporated into the Toyota Mirai avoids altogether. The fuel cell powers an electric motor.

Maximizing consolidation makes HFI technology work beneficially

In terms of the road haulage industry in general, HFI technology will only benefit the industry (and the environment) where load consolidation can be optimized. This is something that Intel has become adept at doing. For the rest of the industry, however, that would take some serious restructuring.

In the foreseeable future

But with the advances we see in modern technology today, the science behind the revolutionary Mirai could be heralding a new era in truly environmentally friendly transportation fuel in the foreseeable future.

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