Friday, November 9, 2012

Love the Smell of Gasoline? You Might Change Your Mind

What's your strange smell fascination? New car smell, gasoline, maybe Pine-Sol or permanent markers? What's bizarre to one person might be irresistible to another (and I'm definitely guilty of being addicted to new car's a shame that those car air fresheners you buy can never quite replicate the real deal!)

Well, here's some alternative fuel news that might surprise you, especially if you consider yourself someone who enjoys catching a whiff of gasoline every time you go to fill your tank. US Green Technology is reporting that Toyota is working closely with a few other organizations in Japan to create a hydrogen based fuel. Normally, that would be fairly irrelevant news since we've known about hydrogen as an alternative for awhile, but their plan to get the hydrogen is entirely different than what you'd ever expect.

Gas pump photo credit: Razvan Ionut

Did the picture give it away? The goal of these scientists is to find a way to collect human waste, extract the hydrogen, and convert it into fuel. As Faith No More famously said, "It's a dirty job but someone's gotta do it!" The process works by heating and drying the waste, which releases methane. The methane is then trapped, collected, and heated again to create hydrogen in a process known as steam reforming. This kind of hydrogen can be produced with about 80% efficiency, meaning that it is definitely cleaner, as hard as that is to imagine, than processing traditional fossil fuels.

The hope among these companies is to have the technology perfected by 2015, with some sort of fuel-cell vehicle available from Toyota to test it out. Perhaps the prototype hydrogen vehicle that was shown off at the Geneva International Motor Show back in March, the FCV-R, could be among the first to try it. It'll definitely be interesting to see how something like this is marketed. What do you think an advertisement or commercial would be like?