This engine designed by Toyota works without gasoline or electricity

This engine designed by Toyota works without gasoline or electricity
This engine designed by Toyota works without gasoline or electricity

Japanese manufacturer Toyota has presented an innovation that could potentially redefine future technologies used in the automotive sector. It is in fact a question of a new engine which uses neither electricity nor conventional fuels. On the other hand, one detail should represent a major concern for future users: the odor and toxicity.

A surprising choice

In the development of alternative solutions to fossil fuels, electricity and batteries seem to have a big head start. Many companies have already relied on this technology which should also soon benefit from ultra-fast charging. Nevertheless as part of the energy transitionother solutions are being studied, notably biofuels and synthetic fuels (e-fuels).

In 2023, Autocar magazine relayed an innovation from the Japanese manufacturer Toyota, in partnership with the Chinese manufacturer GAC Motor. We are talking about a potentially revolutionary engine that does not use gasoline, electricity or even hydrogen. Indeed, this unique engine runs on ammonia.

Ammonia (NH3) is a generally unsavory chemical compound. Colorless and irritating, it diffuses a pungent odor at low doses and burns the eyes at higher concentrations. Prolonged exposure may also cause serious health problems. Usually, this compound, one of the most synthesized in the world, is used in the production of fertilizers, explosives, tobacco, polymers or even in the refrigeration sector.

Credits: Kittisak Kaewchalun / iStock

Difficult obstacles to overcome

Toyota is far ahead on so-called hybrid vehicles, but seems far behind everyone when it comes to discovering alternative solutions. However, the manufacturer promises a 90% reduction in GHG emissions with this ammonia engine. In addition, it would be possible to convert heat engines already in circulation, which would be a major advantage. However, this would involve the creation of new production and distribution capacities.

And while the advantages are indeed present, the main disadvantage of this engine could be difficult to overcome. In fact, he gives off a foul odor and above all toxic. It’s hard to imagine that part of the automobile fleet could operate on this basis. In other words, the idea could be very interesting if those responsible for the project one day discover a way to significantly limit this odor.

However, a another obstacle to this alternative could also appear. Today, in Europe, no country produces significant quantities of ammonia except Germany. However, with its capacity of 1.5% of world production, this country pales in comparison to the heavyweights in the sector, namely China (26%), Russia (10.7%) and the United States ( 10%). Thus, the risk of see new dependencies appear exists and is obviously not desirable.



PREV This revolutionary test that can detect early signs of dementia
NEXT London: Moroccan expert Hassan Sefrioui, member of the jury of the prestigious ”Longitude” Scientific Prize