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14-05-2020 | Emissions | News | Article

Mazda Researches Microalgae Biofuel

Christiane Köllner
1 min reading time

Mazda considers renewable liquid fuels vital to sustainably reducing CO2. That's why the Japanese car manufacturer is researching microalgae biofuel together with other partners.

Together with Hiroshima University and the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Mazda is researching microalgae biofuel. Back in 2016, the three partners initiated a research project to focus on the development of a liquid biofuel made of microalgae. When burnt, algae biofuel releases only as much CO2 as it took from the atmosphere to grow via photosynthesis. Mazda therefore sees this approach as crucial in making vehicles with combustion engines carbon-neutral.

Mazda explains that, in addition to its low flash point, microalgae biofuel has numerous positive properties as a renewable liquid fuel. The genetically optimised algae could be grown on areas that are unsuitable for agriculture because they are cultivated in salty seawater, thereby helping to preserve freshwater resources. This means that the fuel is produced from a biomass which does not have to be cultivated on land that could otherwise be used to grow food. In addition, the yield from microalgae is many times greater than for fuels produced from other biomasses.

Biodegradable and environmentally friendly

If the algae biofuel is ever accidentally released into the environment, it is also biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Increased productivity and reduced costs are fundamental to ensuring that algae biofuels are widely available. To this end, Mazda is providing technical support to a project at Hiroshima University that is focussing on the genetic processing of microalgae and to another plant physiology project at the Tokyo Institute of Technology to help speed up their research.

Mazda is aiming to reduce its CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030 and by 90% by 2050 compared with 2010.

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