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Mazda Invests in Carbon-Neutral Biofuel Science

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Photo: TNS Sofras

While other automakers are cutting carbon emissions with engine tweaks, hybrids, and EVs, Mazda is going one step further. Mazda is teaming up with two Japanese universities to develop a sustainable, renewable, carbon-neutral liquid biofuel, sourced from microalgae.

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The next evolution of biofuel

The automaker is providing funding teams of researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Hiroshima University. The Tokyo team is studying plant physiology, while the Hiroshima researchers are exploring gene editing.

Mazda spokesman Matsuhiro Tanaka expressed excitement about the joint venture. He further explained that the new biofuels could be rolled out in a manner similar to ethanol, but on a broader scale.

However, don’t expect to see these new biofuels at the pump anytime soon. “Microalgae fuels are something we are researching with external academia bodies and it’s a bit of a long-term development,” Tanaka explained. That said, the automaker’s overall goal is providing a green solution to issues that have long plagued the auto industry.

“…In the final phase of this we would like to achieve being carbon neutral by using something like that (biofuel) in an engine to create a real carbon-neutral footprint,” he stated.

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Advantages and limitations

Aside from being carbon neutral, microalgae biofuels can be produced where ethanol can’t. To produce ethanol, you’ll need a vast amount of farmland and freshwater to grow the corn. Microalgae, on the other hand, can be produced with wastewater or saltwater and grown in a wider variety of environments.

Still, Tanaka is keeping his expectations realistic. He knows that consumers and distributors won’t switch to biofuel overnight. Rather, its adoption would be gradual and stepwise.

Source: Cars Guide