While it seems that the auto industry is focussed on electric vehicles and reducing attention to developing the internal combustion engine (ICE) which has provided power for cars for over 100 years, companies like Mazda Motor Corporation continue to show that the ICE is still a viable powerplant. While electric powertrains will certainly gain an increasingly bigger presence, a complete changeover from ICE power may take some time more, especially in developing countries.
So there is still a need to improve the ICE and Mazda is hard at work in this area. It will begin a joint research project with Saudi Aramco and Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) to find new ways of making internal combustion engines more efficient and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Saudi Aramco will develop a fuel with a refinery process that results in lower carbon dioxide emissions, and Mazda and AIST will research and develop a high-efficiency engine that uses the fuel. The initiative is expected to yield technologies that effectively reduce carbon dioxide emissions on a well-to-wheel basis, which is more meangngful than just a tank-to-wheel approach.
The initiative complements Mazda’s efforts to reduce its impact on the environment in line with its “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030” vision for technology development, announced in August last year.
The plan calls for the automaker to reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions on a well-to-wheel basis, considering everything from fuel extraction through to driving. It is no longer sufficient to focus solely on the tank-to-wheel phase and develop fuel-efficient engines and cars that emit low levels of carbon dioxide while driving on the road.
Through this research project, Mazda will build on a long history of technology development efforts aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The company hopes to contribute to resource conservation and environmental preservation while offering cars that combine outstanding environmental and safety performance with true driving pleasure to a wider range of customers globally.
The carmaker is presently in the final stages of development of its SKYACTIV-X petrol engine which is a revolutionary powerplant that combines the free-revving characteristics of a petrol engine with the fuel efficiency, torque and fast initial response of a diesel unit.
Saudi Aramco, which has a history in the oil industry going back to 1933, is one of the largest companies in the world (by revenue). Owned by the Saudi Arabian government, it operates the world’s largest oil fields, both onshore as well as offshore.