Talk about recycling - Toyota is working on a new car engine that's powered by recycling the ultimate of waste products - cow manure. Yep, you read that right. Toyota engineer Scot Blanchet is hard at work exploiting the stuff of the greenest pastures to harvest the universe's most abundant element.
The plan is to extract hydrogen out of massive piles of manure using large "digesters" (We can't make this stuff up). Essentially, these digesters are lagoons where the manure is broken down by bacteria releasing methane gas. That methane then is collected and hydrogen is extracted in a steam methane reformer, a device that uses steam and heat to covert the methane into a form of gas that will power a vehicle.
Advocates of hydrogen fuel argue that hydrogen fuel cells are quick to refuel and allow for about 300 miles of travel before fueling up again. Multiple states agree. Several are beginning to approve funding to build hydrogen fueling stations as consumers demand more environmentally-friendly options for everything from fueling their cars to heating their homes to getting dressed in the morning.
And there's more good news - because we know what you're thinking. No, it doesn't stink. Though technically, the engine is powered by cow manure, the engine itself is a non-combustion engine. Hydrogen and oxygen from the air combine in a fuel cell and create DC electricity that powers the car. The only emission from this process is water - sweet, non-smelling water.