Toyota is really working to persuade the public that hydrogen cars are the next big thing. Toyota has already surpassed its goal of selling 400 cars in 2015 by taking 1,500 orders in January alone. The company opted for a unique marketing angle to generate buzz about the Mirai, releasing a series of short films about the car. The first is directed by Morgan Spurlock, of Super Size Me fame. Entitled, “Fueled by Bullsh*it”, the video goes into details about the abundance of hydrogen, refuting naysayers (and they are many) of the hydrogen fuel-cell battery.
According to the ad, hydrogen is so abundant that it’s found in waste materials such as manure. While it’s true that hydrogen is found in manure, the video refrains from mentioning exactly how much energy is used to harvest and extract the hydrogen, compared to the energy that actually makes it into the car.
To strip the manure of its hydrogen, the material is first taken to the “digester” which is a pool-like lagoon that releases a hydrogen-filled, raw bio-gas. The purified gas is then collected and taken to a steam methane reformer which uses steam and heat to strip hydrogen from the gas.
The biggest hurdle to the future success of hydrogen-fueled cars is the lack of hydrogen stations capable of charging the fuel cell. To get past this roadblock, Toyota announced earlier this year that it would be opening up its hydrogen fuel-cell patent portfolio. Toyota hopes this will be the push other manufacturers need to adopt the fuel-cell technology.