Toyota car powered by Gobar Gas

toyota-CowsToyota, a Japanese car maker, has come up with a car which runs on the hydrogen gas produced from cow manure. Car is launched by the name of Toyota Mirai. It runs on this basic principle, have a tank filled with hydrogen (H), take oxygen (O2) from the atmosphere and do some advanced chemistry between them to produce electricity, heat and water. The produces electricity is used to charge the on-board battery. The Toyota Mirai is powered by a 114 kilowatt fuel cell stack along with a 113 kilowatt electric motor on board. 

Hydrogen is quite easy to produce by cow manure. As Gobar gas (Bio gas) produces methane, which when mixed with steam produces hydrogen. This process of producing hydrogen is called steam reforming or steam methane reforming (SMR).

As part of their Earth Day promotions, the company released the first episode of its series of Toyota Mirai ads called ‘Fueled By Everything’. With this ad it tries to prove how hydrogen can be stripped from cow manure to power the Toyota Mirai.

The Mirai is Toyota’s first mass-production hydrogen-powered fuel-cell car, and it comes after 20 years and millions of dollars of investment in research and development.

Currently it is launched with a price tag of Rs 35 lakh in Japan but it can cost less in India when launched as Indian government may subsidies vehicle run on natural fuel.

What is Steam Reforming

Steam reforming of natural gas or steam methane reforming (SMR) is the most common method of producing commercial bulk hydrogen. At high temperatures (700 – 1100 °C) and in the presence of a metal-based catalyst (nickel), steam reacts with methane to yield carbon monoxide and hydrogen.

CH4 + H2O ⇌ CO + 3 H2

Additional hydrogen can be recovered by a lower-temperature gas-shift reaction with the carbon monoxide produced. The reaction is summarized by:

CO + H2O ⇌ CO2 + H2