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March 31, 2020

Mazda Says They Can Turn Internal Combustion Engines Carbon Neutral

Despite the automotive industry’s love for electrification, Mazda thinks that the internal combustion engine still has a lot of give—at least until the next 20 or so years. As part of its Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030 long-term strategy, the Japanese carmaker is aiming to reduce its “Well-to-Wheel” emissions by 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 is considering a renewable liquid fuel essential to drastic CO2 reduction.

With that, Mazda is now researching into biofuels that are grown from microalgae. When burnt, algae biofuel only releases CO2 recently removed from the atmosphere via photosynthesis as the algae grew making cars close to, if not, carbon neutral.

Microalgae biofuel has numerous positive attributes as a renewable liquid fuel. Algae fuels can be farmed on land unsuitable for agriculture, can be grown with minimal impact on freshwater resources, can be produced using saline and wastewater, have a high flash point, and are biodegradable and relatively harmless to the environment if spilled.

Improving productivity and reducing costs are fundamental to the widespread future availability of algae biofuels. To that end, Mazda is lending its technical support to the combination of research into genome editing by Hiroshima University and plant physiology by the Tokyo Institute of Technology which is intended to lead to a breakthrough in these areas.

As part of the “Well-to-Wheel” initiative, Mazda has developed a multi-solution approach to reduce overall CO2 emissions without any compromise to driving pleasure and performance to its vehicles. Ingenious Skyactiv technologies such as i-Stop and Cylinder Deactivation are available, while there’s also the Skyactiv-X Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) petrol engine.

Mazda is also introducing EVs to regions that generate electricity from clean energy sources or restrict certain vehicle types to reduce air pollution. Their first full EV is the Mazda MX-30.

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