Toyota has called on Yamaha to create a hydrogen-fueled internal combustion engine. And Yamaha hasn’t done things by half-measures, choosing to take the Lexus RC F’s 5.0-litre V8 unit as a starting point for the project.
The block is basically the same, but Yamaha has made modifications to the engine’s fuel injectors, cylinder heads and intake manifold to allow it to run on compressed hydrogen. The engine is topped-off by an immaculately fabricated eight-into-one exhaust manifold.
Yamaha has managed to screw 444bhp from its hydrogen V8 engine, which is only 13bhp less than the unit produces when powered by petrol. Interestingly, though, the unit develops 540Nm of torque – which is 20Nm more than the standard powertrain.
Because all of the mounting points are identical to that of the standard Lexus 2UR-GSE V8 engine, theoretically, it could be dropped into the nose of an standard RC-F with minimal modifications. The only major changes required would be a new fuel system with a pressurised hydrogen storage tank in place of the coupe’s standard petrol tank.
The project forms part of a wider collaboration between Kawasaki, Subaru, Toyota, Mazda and Yamaha, which was announced at the end of last year. The aim of the project was to research and develop alternative fuel options for internal combustion engines that would allow the technology to become carbon neutral.
Yamaha Motor’s boss, Yoshihiro Hidaka, said: “We are working toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. At the same time ‘Motor’ is in our company name and we accordingly have a strong passion for and level of commitment to the internal combustion engine.”
Hidaka continued: “Hydrogen engines house the potential to be carbon-neutral while keeping our passion for the internal combustion engine alive at the same time. Teaming up with companies with different corporate cultures and areas of expertise as well as growing the number of partners we have is how we want to lead the way into the future.”
Takeshi Yamada, from the automotive arm of Yamaha’s Technical Research and Development Centre, said: “This is a challenge we can sink our teeth into as engineers and I personally want to pursue not just performance but also a new allure for the internal combustion engine that the world has yet to see.”
Mazda recently outlined its research into synthetic fuels that are made from carbon which has been pulled out of the atmosphere by enormous filters. The captured carbon is then combined with hydrogen in the correct quantities to produce fuel with exactly the same properties as petrol and diesel, without adding any new carbon to the air.
Mazda is also working on biodiesel fuels that are made from sustainable raw materials such as micro algae fats and used cooking oil – and the firm recently joined the eFuel alliance in an effort to promote and develop renewable fuels.
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