Toyota unveils solar roof for new Prius plug-in hybrid
Toyota has revealed that its new Prius PHV plug-in hybrid will offer optional solar panels that can help to recharge the car’s battery.
According to the Japanese automaker, the roof-mounted panels will be able to increase the car’s fuel economy by as much as 10 percent. This means that the Prius PHV, known as the Prius Prime in the US, will be capable of running on electric power for around 55km at speeds of up to 135km/hour.
The rooftop solar panels will also supply electricity to the car’s windows, lamps and air-conditioning when it is in motion — thereby reducing fuel consumption when the car is not running solely on electric power.
Initially, the solar-enabled Prius PHV will only be available in Europe and Japan because the car doesn’t yet meet the United States’ stringent vehicle safety standards.
Toyota has not been able to laminate the photovoltaic cells in a resin that will keep them from shattering in the event of a rollover crash. Thus, the vehicle is incapable of passing stateside crash safety tests.
However, at the car’s Japanese debut, Toyota’s Chief Engineer, Koji Toyoshima, said that he’d like to manufacture hardier PV cells for the US market: “We would like to introduce this, at least in the lifetime of the current model.
“It should be possible to do a lot of charging this way in places like California or Arizona.”
The previous-generation Prius also featured a rooftop solar option: when the car was parked and its interior temperature reached a certain threshold, a solar-powered fan would kick in to cool the cabin down.
Trafigura and Yara International explore clean ammonia usage
Reducing shipping emissions is a vital component of the fight against global climate change, yet Greenhouse Gas emissions from the global maritime sector are increasing - and at odds with the IMO's strategy to cut absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050.
How more than 70,000 ships can decrease their reliance on carbon-based sources is one of transport's most pressing decarbonisation challenges.
Yara and Trafigura intend to collaborate on initiatives that will establish themselves in the clean ammonia value chain. Under the MoU announced today, Trafigura and Yara intend to work together in the following areas:
- The supply of clean ammonia by Yara to Trafigura Group companies
- Exploration of joint R&D initiatives for clean ammonia application as a marine fuel
- Development of new clean ammonia assets including marine fuel infrastructure and market opportunities
Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, President of Yara Clean Ammonia, said the agreement is a good example of cross-industry collaboration to develop and promote zero-emission fuel in the form of clean ammonia for the shipping industry. "Building clean ammonia value chains is critical to facilitate the transition to zero emission fuels by enabling the hydrogen economy – not least within trade and distribution where both Yara and Trafigura have leading capabilities. Demand and supply of clean ammonia need to be developed in tandem," he said.
There is a growing consensus that hydrogen-based fuels will ultimately be the shipping fuels of the future, but clear and comprehensive regulation is essential, according to Jose Maria Larocca, Executive Director and Co-Head of Oil Trading for Trafigura.
Ammonia has a number of properties that require "further investigation," according to Wartsila. "It ignites and burns poorly compared to other fuels and is toxic and corrosive, making safe handling and storage important. Burning ammonia could also lead to higher NOx emissions unless controlled either by aftertreatment or by optimising the combustion process," it notes.
Trafigura has co-sponsored the R&D of MAN Energy Solutions’ ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels, has performed in-depth studies of transport fuels with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and has published a white paper on the need for a global carbon levy for shipping fuels to be introduced by International Maritime Organization.
Oslo-based Yara produces roughly 8.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually and employs a fleet of 11 ammonia carriers, including 5 fully owned ships, and owns 18 marine ammonia terminals with 580 kt of storage capacity – enabling it to produce and deliver ammonia across the globe.
It recently established a new clean ammonia unit to capture growth opportunities in emission-free fuel for shipping and power, carbon-free fertilizer and ammonia for industrial applications.