Most car manufacturers are looking to electrification and hydrogen fuel cells as the power source of the future. But Mazda is currently involved in joint research projects to promote the wide-spread adoption of biofuels from microalgae growth.

As part of its ‘Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030’ long-term technology development program, the company is committed to reducing its average ‘Well-to-Wheel’ CO2 emissions to 50 per cent of 2010 levels by the year 2030 — and to 90 per cent by 2050.

You see Mazda reckons internal combustion engines combined with some form of electrification will still account for 95 per cent of the vehicles it produces 10 years from now, and that liquid fuel will remain dominant in the automotive industry until at least 2040.

As such it believes a renewable liquid fuel is essential to drastically reduce CO2 emissions.

Because, when burnt, algae biofuel releases only CO2 that has been recently removed from the atmosphere via photosynthesis, Mazda considers its development to be critical to achieving the carbon-neutrality of cars powered by the internal combustion engine.

Microalgae biofuel has numerous positive attributes as a renewable liquid fuel.

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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 providing technical support for research into genome editing by Hiroshima University and plant physiology by the Tokyo Institute of Technology — which it hopes will 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 carbon dioxide emissions without any compromise to driving pleasure and performance to its vehicles.

Technologies such as i-STOP cylinder deactivation and the Mazda M Hybrid 24V mild-hybrid system are fitted as standard on selected models across the range, while the Mazda3 and CX-30 are offered with Mazda’s revolutionary 2.0-litre Skyactiv-X Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) petrol engine.

The company will introduce EVs as the optimum environmentally-friendly solution to regions that generate electricity from clean energy sources or restrict certain vehicle types to reduce air pollution.

biofuels

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Mazda has its money on biofuels

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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