Toyota Motor Corporation has developed the world’s first general-purpose hydrogen (H2) burner for industrial use in collaboration with construction company Chugai Ro Co., Ltd.

The burner will be used from today at the forging line in Toyota’s Honsha Plant.

In conventional H2 burners, H2 reacts rapidly with oxygen (O2), leading to a high flame temperature and environmentally hazardous NOx emissions. On account of this, the practical use of H2 burners has proved challenging.

The newly developed burners incorporate two new structures that enable H2 to combust more slowly. The new burners also have zero CO2 emissions and greatly reduced NOx emissions, resulting in outstanding environmental performance.

  1. Preventing hydrogen and oxygen from mixing completely

    If H2 and O2 are in a fully mixed state when ignited, the mixture burns violently with a high flame temperature. In the newly developed burner, H2 and O2 flow side-by-side and are ignited without being fully mixed, leading to slower combustion and a lower flame temperature.

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  1. Lowering oxygen concentration inside the furnace

    If the fuel mixture contains a high concentration of oxygen at the time of ignition, combustion is violent with a high flame temperature. To prevent this, small holes are opened in the pipes that supply H2 to the burner, enabling small volumes of H2 and O2 to pre-combust. O2 concentrations are consequently reduced to an optimal 19% level for main combustion, resulting in a lower flame temperature.

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To achieve the targets set out in its Plant Zero CO2 Emissions Challenge, which forms part of the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, Toyota is implementing innovative technologies and everyday kaizen (continuous improvement) activities. Toyota also aims to use energy in its plants that comes from renewable sources, including H2 energy.

The new technologies announced today will enable 1,000 large-scale natural gas burners to be replaced by H2 burners at our plants across Japan. Conventional technology is responsible for significant volumes of CO2 emissions; to realise its Plant Zero CO2 Emissions Challenge, Toyota is planning to install H2 burners gradually at its other plants, and other companies in the Toyota Group are also considering installation.

Going forward, Toyota seeks to realise a H2-powered society and reduce its industrial carbon footprint by promoting industrial H2 use and by contributing to increased demand for H2.