Toyota, Yamaha Developing Hydrogen-Powered V8 Engine

Source: Yamaha hydrogen-powered engine

Source: Yamaha

Toyota and Yamaha are working to develop a hydrogen-powered 5.0-litre V8 engine, in an effort to keep internal combustion technology alive whilst targeting carbon neutrality.

Unlike a hydrogen fuel-cell power unit – which combines hydrogen and oxygen atoms to create electricity and drive a motor – the new powertrain is a conventional piston-driven engine, tuned to burn hydrogen instead of petrol.

The unit is based on an engine currently in use by the Lexus RC F luxury sports coupe, with modifications made to the injectors, cylinder heads, and intake manifolds, among other areas.

It also features an eight-in-one top-mounted exhaust manifold, which Yamaha claims will produce a harmonic high-frequency note, creating a “new allure for the internal combustion engine that the world has yet to see.”

Preliminary testing shows a maximum output of 335kW/540Nm. This is a slight power drop but an increase in torque over the original petrol-powered V8 which sends 351kW/530Nm to the ground.

Yamaha began developing a hydrogen engine for automobiles around five years ago, and recently entered discussions with Kawasaki, Subaru, Toyota and Mazda on potential collaborative research into alternative fuel options for internal combustion engines.

“Hydrogen engines house the potential to be carbon-neutral while keeping our passion for the internal combustion engine alive at the same time,” said Yamaha Motor President Yoshihiro Hidaka. “Teaming up with companies with different corporate cultures and areas of expertise as well as growing the number of partners we have is how we want to lead the way into the future.”

While burning hydrogen does not produce carbon dioxide, it can result in a range of other potentially-harmful emissions. The companies are yet to release the environmental credentials of the engine.

One of the engineers on the hydrogen engine development team, Takeshi Yamada, explained the merits of hydrogen as a fuel source for vehicles.

“Hydrogen engines have an innately friendly feel that makes them easy to use even without resorting to electronic driving aids,” said Takeshi.

“Everyone who came to test-drive the prototype car would start off somewhat sceptical, but emerged from the car with a big smile on their face at the end. As I watched this, I started to believe that there is actually enormous potential in the characteristics unique to hydrogen engines instead of simply treating it as a substitute for gasoline.”

There are no confirmed plans yet to offer the engine in a production vehicle but the brands remain adamant the technology could carve out a niche in the increasingly-electrified automotive landscape.

Source: Yamaha Motor | Tapping the Potential Within 100% Hydrogen-Powered Engine

22 February 2022

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