This Toyota technology can convert waste into electricity. Here’s how

According to Toyota, the process combines 'green waste', water, sawdust and shredded paper in a high-pressure machine. The materials are liquified and
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Toyota
Toyota has unveiled a recycling method that can transform 'green waste' into energy, without the need for traditional incineration processes that contribute to CO2 emission (REUTERS)
Toyota
Toyota has unveiled a recycling method that can transform 'green waste' into energy, without the need for traditional incineration processes that contribute to CO2 emission

Toyota Chemical Engineering, a division of the Japanese vehicle maker, Toyota corporation, is spearheading efforts in sustainable waste management and recycling. The company has unveiled a recycling method that can transform 'green waste' into energy, without the need for traditional incineration processes that contribute to CO2 emissions.

The process involves combining 'green waste', water, sawdust, and shredded paper in a high-pressure machine. These materials are then liquified and transferred into a "methane fermentation vessel," where microorganisms ferment the mixture, converting it into methane gas. This methane gas is utilised as fuel to power Toyota's chemical plants, demonstrating a closed-loop system that minimizes environmental impact.

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To showcase the effectiveness of their process, Toyota Chemical Engineering used expired lunch boxes as a demonstration. The waste, along with sawdust, shredded paper, and other garbage, is processed into a liquid using high-temperature, high-pressure water, resembling a massive pressure cooker. The resulting liquid is then pumped into the methane fermentation vessel, where microorganisms convert it into methane gas, serving as a sustainable fuel source for generating electricity.

While Toyota acknowledges that some form of incineration is still required in their waste disposal process, the company ensures that the CO2 emitted during this process is captured and used to power its facilities, effectively reducing its carbon emissions output. This commitment to sustainability aligns with Toyota's broader environmental goals and showcases its dedication to innovation in waste management.

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New battery recycling technique

In addition to its waste-to-energy initiative, Toyota is also working on a new battery recycling process aimed at further reducing its carbon footprint. Traditionally, incineration has been the go-to method for recycling batteries, due to the highly flammable nature of the electrolytic fluid used for charging and discharging electricity. However, Toyota has developed a distillation process that makes the electrolytic solution safer to handle, reducing its flammability and allowing for more thorough recovery of recyclable materials.

Through this distillation process, Toyota can efficiently gather large pieces of aluminum and iron, along with a black powder known as "black mass," which contains an abundance of rare metals. By innovating in battery recycling, Toyota is not only reducing its environmental impact but also contributing to the sustainable use of resources and the circular economy, the company claims.

First Published Date: 26 Feb 2024, 10:04 AM IST
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