Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Toyota eyes diesel options

Bangkok, Thailand --In the face of runaway fuel prices and huge imported oil bills, Toyota Motor Corporation and two of its local units will collaborate with PTT Plc, the national energy group, to develop a hydrogenation process to produce diesel fuel from vegetable oil.

The process hydrogenates a vegetable or mineral oil mix to produce high-quality biodiesel suitable for blending with diesel fuel to create a greener alternative fuel for vehicles.

The new project will start after Toyota Motor, Toyota Motor Thailand Co (TMT), Bangkok-based Toyota Motor Asia Pacific Engineering and Manufacturing Co and PTT sign a memorandum of understanding on Friday, when the budget for the project would be announced.

In a similar biodiesel project launched in 2006, Toyota and PTT, in collaboration with Kasetsart University, have been conducting experiments to develop biodiesel from the fruit of jatropha, a crop that can be grown even on barren land.

The ongoing experiments required a total investment of 33 million baht in three years, of which 15 million baht was borne by Toyota and the balance by PTT.

The project is experimenting with jatropha varieties suitable for the Thai climate, production methods, and oil extraction methods.

It is also testing biodiesel production techniques, compatibility with engines and fuel supply systems, durability, emissions and cost effectiveness.

If the experiments prove successful, Toyota would produce vehicles with engines suitable for biodiesel.

Jatropha would become an economic crop that cuts oil imports and increases the use of locally made fuel.

[Source : Bangkok Post 05/28/2008]


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