The 2023 Super Taikyu Series, culminating at Fuji Speedway on November 12, marked a significant step forward in Toyota’s hydrogen-powered engine technology. ROOKIE Racing, a prominent contender in the series, clinched the championship with its #14 Zhongsheng ROOKIE AMG GT3. The team also showcased two other innovative vehicles: the #28 ORC ROOKIE GR86 CNF concept, running on carbon-neutral fuel, and the hydrogen-powered #32 ORC ROOKIE GR Corolla H2 concept.
A key development in Toyota’s pursuit of sustainable mobility is the carbon capture technology employed in the H2 Corolla. This system, a pioneering approach in automotive CO2 reduction, uses two filters fitted under the hood. The first filter captures CO2 from the air entering the engine, while the second, placed at the front of the engine bay, is coated with a CO2 absorbent developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. This absorbent releases CO2 at temperatures above 60°C, a feature ingeniously utilized to separate and recover CO2 using the heat generated by the engine oil. Though the current capture amount is modest, with just 20 grams over 20 laps at Fuji Speedway, the potential for automation and increased efficiency in this system is significant.
Another highlight is the liquid hydrogen-powered Corolla, which represents a major innovation in hydrogen fuel utilization. Liquid hydrogen, with its higher energy density, doubles the cruising range compared to gaseous hydrogen, offering a more compact and efficient fueling solution. This technology, however, presents unique challenges, such as maintaining the hydrogen at temperatures below -253℃ and developing suitable fuel pump technology for these extreme conditions. Despite these challenges, Toyota’s agile development process has enabled substantial improvements in vehicle weight reduction and engine performance.
Toyota’s commitment to hydrogen-powered vehicles extends to public road trials as well, with the introduction of a hydrogen-engine HiAce in Australia. This initiative is part of Toyota’s broader strategy to test and refine hydrogen technology in various real-world applications, moving towards a carbon-neutral future.
The 2023 Super Taikyu Series not only showcased competitive racing but also acted as a platform for Toyota to test and evolve its sustainable automotive technologies. With these advancements, Toyota is two-thirds of the way toward the commercialization of hydrogen engines, underscoring their commitment to developing environmentally-friendly automotive solutions.