Are dreams always electric?

Much has been made of the future of transport being electric, either with battery electric vehicles (BEVs) or from hydrogen fuel cells. However Mazda has been pursuing a slight different route and is currently involved in joint research projects and studies to promote the widespread adoption of biofuels from microalgae growth.

As part of the company’s Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030 technology development programme, the company is committed to reducing its average Well-to-Wheel CO2 emissions to half of 2010 levels by 2030, and to 90 per cent by 2050, but the company believes that internal combustion engines (ICEs) combined with some form of electrification will still account for some 95 per cent of the vehicles it produces in 2030, and that liquid fuel will remain dominant in the automotive industry until at least 2040.

Therefore, it has embarked on a long-term programme to make renewable liquid fuel, focussing on algae biofuel that only releases CO2 recently removed from the atmosphere via photosynthesis as the algae grew, Mazda considers its development to be critical to achieving the carbon-neutrality of cars powered by the internal combustion engine. 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.

However, 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.

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