Surprisingly, Toyota is betting on an innovative approach to hydrogen engines. In a context where the fuel cell to produce electricity from hydrogen has become commonplace, the company has chosen to explore another path: using this chemical element as a fuel injected directly into an internal combustion engine, thus replacing traditional gasoline or diesel.
An Innovative Cooling System
Unlike engines using fossil fuels, where the latent evaporation of the fuel contributes to cooling the cylinders, engines using hydrogen present a more complex scenario. Given the high temperature of their cylinders and the irregular combustion that can result, Toyota has developed a new water-cooling method.
Toyota’s Solution: Water as a Cooling Agent
In response to the high temperatures of the cylinders and the complications that arise from them, Toyota proposes a system that involves injecting water into the cylinders through specific injection valves. The strategy aims to cool the engine efficiently and cleverly, and the design includes two valves per cylinder, each responsible for introducing the cooling liquid into the various intake ports, as well as incorporating opening and closing ports to manage the water flow.
Coordination and Control: The Central Processing Unit
To ensure the proper functioning of this innovative engine, Toyota will implement an electronic control unit. This entity will determine not only the precise moment of water injection but also the exact amount of water needed to ensure optimal engine performance.
Innovation vs. Actual Implementation
While this Toyota concept reflects the brand’s clear interest in innovation and exploring sustainable alternatives to electric propulsion, it’s essential to note that, at least for now, it’s just a production project, and there’s no guarantee that this technology will materialize in the company’s future vehicles.
This breakthrough by Toyota raises an intriguing point for the evolution of hydrogen engines. The brand is not solely focused on developing electric or hybrid vehicles but is exploring options that, although complex, could mark a turning point in how we envision sustainable automotive.