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Mazda still betting on internal combustion engines

Mazda still betting on internal combustion engines

The auto industry may be moving wholesale to electricity but that doesn’t mean the internal combustion engine is dead. Mazda certainly doesn’t think so and has announced continued investment in engines. But they won’t be fuelled with gasoline.

Mazda is investing in a number of projects interested in researching biofuels. Fuels made from natural products that can power combustion engines but without the harmful emissions. In particular, Mazda seem interested in algae-based fuels.

“Because, when burnt, algae biofuel only releases CO2 recently removed from the atmosphere via photosynthesis as the algae grew, Mazda considers its development to be critical to achieving the carbon-neutrality of cars powered by the internal combustion engine.”

Algae as a fuel

Using algae as a fuel is not new. It has been mooted for years and has been researched before. It wasn’t originally seen as viable as the growth method and farming took quite an environmental toll. Growth at commercial levels needed huge amount of space and water and could not compete on cost with gas.

Production required algae to be grown, dried and have lipids removed before it could be turned into fuel. Advances have already been made in drying and a lot of work has already been done to try to make the growth process more affordable but there is a lot more to do.

Mazda, along with the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Hiroshima University are continuing to research algae-based fuel as a biofuel. Mazda has said it does not want to leave the combustion engine behind but does want to remove harmful emissions from the equation. Therefore, research into a cleaner alternative is essential.

Mazda and motors

Mazda released a statement recently saying that while they were embracing EVs, they didn’t want to do away with combustion engines altogether. They said that while they expect 95% of their vehicles to be electric by 2030, they still believed there is a place for engines that burn fuel. Just cleaner fuel.

They have also said:

“As part of its 'Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030' long-term technology development program, the company is committed to reducing its average 'well-to-wheel' CO2 emissions to 50 percent of 2010 levels by 2030, and to 90 percent by 2050.”

“Expecting that internal combustion engines combined with some form of electrification will still account for some 95 percent of the vehicles it produces in 2030, and that liquid fuel will remain dominant in the automotive industry until at least 2040, Mazda considers a renewable liquid fuel essential to drastic CO2 reduction.”

There is a lot of work still to do in this field but with Mazda, the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Hiroshima University, along with other institutions all looking at the problem, a solution is sure to arrive soon.

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