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A Carbon Capture Car? Why Not?

Toyota Corolla GR Carbon Capture Intake

The world has become hyper-aware of CO2 in the atmosphere and air around us, along with the dangers it creates. That is one of the most significant factors resulting in the shift from internal combustion engine vehicles to electrification and other powertrains that produce significantly less carbon than gasoline and diesel. But what if an engine could clean the air around it as it drove, taking in CO2 and obliterating it? That is precisely what Toyota and Kawasaki have been working on creating.

Toyota Carbon Capture Air Intake: Details

By now, you’ve probably heard of a prototype Toyota GR Corolla race car using a three-cylinder turbocharged engine that runs on liquid hydrogen and emits trace amounts of CO2. However, you might not have heard that this race car also uses a unique ‘carbon capture’ system. According to CarExpert, within the Corolla’s engine bay is a pair of filters before the intake manifold made from a ceramic catalyst. These filters are coated in a CO2 absorbent developed by motorcycle giant Kawasaki. Once the filters capture the CO2, the carbon passes through a recovery fluid, which disappears without a trace.

Toyota Corolla GR Carbon Capture
1. Filter 2. Second Filter 3. Recovery Fluid Tank

The prototype car has been raced at Fuji Speedway (owned by Toyota) multiple times, with the carmaker claiming the system has captured around a gram of CO2 every lap of the 4.56km (2.83 miles) circuit. Unfortunately, the system is far from being put into production and within vehicles as it’s not a set-and-forget solution. The filters must be replaced every time the car comes in for a pit stop (about every 20 laps). That means the filters must be replaced every 91.2 kilometers or 56.6 miles. That said, Toyota and Kawasaki are pushing to develop a system that doesn’t need as much human interference.

This is part of Toyota’s multi-pronged approach towards reducing carbon emissions. While the need to frequently replace the filters means the carbon capture system won’t be put into mass production yet, it could happen in the future. Last year, Toyota set a record of producing over 11 million vehicles in a calendar year, so think, with an improved system installed on millions of cars, over time, we could make a substantial change for the better and without the need to adopt EVs.

Toyota has been vocal about the resource-intensive nature of electric vehicles, demonstrating that spreading that amount of lithium, rare earth metals, and other materials across cheaper and more user-friendly hybrid cars can have a farther reaching effect. Beyond electrification, Toyota has also been experimenting heavily with hydrogen, and not just fuel cells. Toyota continues to experiment with hydrogen combustion in the motorsports space, with hopes to eventually scale the technology to the mainstream. Should that happen, the internal combustion engine will likely exist for far longer than anybody originally thought.

Toyota Corolla GR Carbon Capture Intake

Written by Zac Quinn

Zac's love for cars started at a young age, after seeing the popular Eleanor from Gone In 60 Seconds. From there, fascination and enthusiasm blossomed and to this day the Ford Mustang remains a favorite. His first job started out detailing cars, but also provided the opportunity to work on restoration including an 1968 Ford Mustang, Pontiac Firebird, and a C3 Corvette, though he left that job before further work and experience could be had. From there, he was a detailer at a car dealership before quitting that job to try and finish college.

Much of his free time while studying was spent watching YouTube videos regarding new cars, or off-roading. 4WD247 is a personal favorite channel which rekindled a dying flame in car enthusiasm, now tailored towards trucks and SUVs and the fun that can be had building up an overlanding rig, and going on adventures, though, that chapter remains unwritten for the time being.

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