Toyota is building a giant power station that turns biowaste into hydrogen fuel

December 1, 2017 by  
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Toyota is building a massive power plant that will churn out 1.2 tons of hydrogen every single day. That’s enough for the daily driving needs of almost 1,500 cars . They described the project as the “world’s first megawatt-scale carbonate fuel cell power generation plant” – and it will allow them to power their operations at the Long Beach Port entirely with renewable energy . The Tri-Gen facility in Long Beach will generate around 2.35 megawatts of electricity when it switches online in 2020. The generation station itself will be 100 percent renewable – it will transform California agricultural waste into hydrogen, electricity, and water. FuelCell Energy developed the Tri-Gen technology. Related: Toyota’s new Texas headquarters will get 25% of its power from the sun Toyota views the power plant as a major step towards a hydrogen society. Hydrogen from Tri-Gen will power fuel cell vehicles moving through the Long Beach Port – including Mirai sedans and Toyota’s heavy duty truck known as Project Portal. Group vice president for strategic planning Doug Murtha said in a statement, “For more than twenty years, Toyota has been leading the development of fuel cell technology because we understand the tremendous potential to reduce emissions and improve society.” The power plant fits in with Toyota’s goal to reach net zero carbon dioxide emissions as part of their Environmental Challenge 2050 . Toyota’s Environmental Challenge 2050 also includes goals for promoting next-generation zero-emissions cars, cutting down on water use, and building a recycling -based society. In their statement, Toyota reiterated their commitment to expanding hydrogen infrastructure. There are currently 31 retail hydrogen fueling stations in California, and Toyota has partnered with Shell – the first such collaboration between an oil and a car company – to develop new hydrogen stations. + Toyota Images via Toyota and FuelCell Energy

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Toyota is building a giant power station that turns biowaste into hydrogen fuel

Airless tires could help Toyota make lighter electric cars

October 30, 2017 by  
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Airless tires could boost performance and cut down the weight of electric cars – and Toyota is interested. The automaker recently unveiled the hydrogen-powered Fine-Comfort Ride concept car fitted with the tires at the Tokyo Motor Show . The Fine-Comfort Ride is about as big as a crossover SUV, but chief engineer Takao Sato said the airless wheels could be used on any electric car. The airless tires on the Fine-Comfort Ride are comprised of a band of rubber around a plastic-aluminum hub, reports Bloomberg . Sumitomo Rubber Industries supplied the tires for Toyota . Sumitomo unveiled their Smart Tyre Concept, which includes the airless component, at the Tokyo Motor Show and said in a press release , “Airless tires contribute to greater safety and peace of mind in transportation by freeing the driver from worries about punctures and the trouble of having to manage tire pressure.” Sumitomo said there’s interest from other Japanese carmakers as well. Related: Michelin unveils airless 3D-printed tires that last virtually forever Sato said, “For automakers, the attraction of airless tires is for electrified vehicles.” At the moment the concept tires still weigh about as much as pneumatic tires, but the technology could develop to trim five kilograms – around 11 pounds – from each tire. That’s around 30 percent of each tire’s weight, and the development could come as early as 2025. Sumitomo airless tire project head Wako Iwamura said he aims to have a commercial product by 2020, according to Bloomberg, and that his tires are already comparable in price with those requiring air. The company has already been testing the tires on golf carts and minicars. Sumitomo also pioneered what they called the world’s first 100 percent fossil resource-free tires using all-natural materials back in 2013, and said since then they’ve been working to create “proprietary biomass materials based on raw materials derived from plants .” Via Bloomberg Images via Toyota

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Toyota and Mazda establish a new company for electric cars

October 18, 2017 by  
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Toyota , Mazda and Denso have signed a new partnership through which they will jointly establish a new company for the development of electric cars. Neither Toyota nor Mazda offer any fully electric vehicles in their lineup yet, so the new partnership will give both automakers the basic structural components for EVs. For automakers to survive the changing automotive industry, they need to be able to produce several types of powertrains, including electric and fuel cell vehicles . Toyota, Mazda and Denso have decided to team up for better capability of developing electric technology that can be applied to a variety of vehicles, improving their response time to the changing market trends. Related: New Toyota concept takes the wheel when drivers get sleepy The new company, called EV Common Architecture Spirit Co Ltd. will leverage Mazda’s product planning and computer modeling-based development, Denso’s electronics technologies, and the Toyota New Global Architecture platform. The TNGA platform is already used by models like the 2018 Toyota Camry and the latest-generation Prius . Toyota will own 90 percent of the company, while Mazda and Denso will each have a 5 percent share. The new agreement covers a diverse range of models, from mini vehicles to passenger vehicles, SUVs, and light trucks. Toyota and Mazda are both behind most other automakers, since neither of them have focused on fully-electric vehicles. Toyota has focused its energies on hybrid powertrains, while Mazda continues to focus on improving the internal combustion engine . With countries now mandating zero-emissions vehicles, the partnership will not only help both automakers catch up to their competitors, but also bring new electric cars to market sooner. Mazda has already announced that it will introduce electrified powertrains as early as 2019. + Toyota All images ©Toyota

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Toyota and Mazda establish a new company for electric cars

New Toyota concept takes the wheel when drivers get sleepy

January 5, 2017 by  
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The 2017 Consumer Electronics Show kicks off this week in Las Vegas, with an increasing number of automakers using the show to showcase their latest technological innovations. This year, Toyota is giving the world a look at the future with its Concept-i vehicle which can not only drive itself, but also uses Artificial Intelligence to build a relationship with the driver. According to Toyota, the Concept-i is designed from the inside out to give the vehicle a warm and friendly user experience. While its interior looks spacious and inviting, the more significant part of the Concept-i is its advanced artificial intelligence system that builds a relationship with the driver that is stronger than learning driving patterns and schedules. The Concept-i is designed to use multiple technologies to measure emotion, mapped against when and where the driver travels around the world. Related: Chrysler unveils all-electric self-driving Portal car In addition, the AI system uses advanced automated vehicle technologies to enhance driving safety. Under certain conditions, drivers will have the choice of automated or manual driving based on their personal preference, but the Concept-i also has the ability to fully take over if the driver’s engagement declines. The system monitors driver attention and road conditions, with the goal of increasing self-driving support as necessary. The warm and friendly part of the Concept-i starts with a next-generation user interface that serves as a platform for the vehicle’s AI Agent, nicknamed “Yui”. Instead of displaying important information on a digital screen, Yui uses lights, sounds and even touch to communicate critical information. Colored lights in the foot wells indicate whether the vehicle is in automated or manual drive, projectors in the rear deck project views onto the seat pillar to help warn about blind spots and a next-generation head up helps keep the driver’s eyes on the road. The Concept-i’s exterior also displays information, like “Hello” to greet the driver and passengers as they approach the vehicle. The rear of the concept communicates to other drivers about upcoming turns or warn about a potential hazard, while the front communicates whether the Concept-i is in automated or manual drive. Toyota hasn’t announced any production plans for the Concept-i, but Toyota does expect to start on-road evaluation within the next few years in Japan. + Toyota All images @Toyota

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New Toyota concept takes the wheel when drivers get sleepy

Are companies prepared for $14 billion in water risk?

November 15, 2016 by  
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Failing in water strategies leaves you vulnerable to a flood of bottom-line impacts. But Colgate Palmolive, Toyota and 21 others on this “A List” are ahead.

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Are companies prepared for $14 billion in water risk?

Does your company have a presidential transition strategy?

November 15, 2016 by  
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President-elect Trump’s team is at work. It’s time to business to mobilize, starting with three actions.

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Does your company have a presidential transition strategy?

From the ‘me’ economy to the ‘we’ economy

November 15, 2016 by  
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Watch these four factors advancing the transition, with examples from Ford, Unilever and General Electric.

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From the ‘me’ economy to the ‘we’ economy

The Toyota Prius Prime is the most efficient electrified car you can buy in the US

October 13, 2016 by  
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Back in March Toyota unveiled their shiny 2017 Prius Prime , said to have the best MPGe rating for a plug-in hybrid ever at around 120 MPGe . But according to EPA estimates, that was a conservative figure. The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime actually clocks in at 133 MPGe – which makes it the most efficient electrified vehicle for sale in the US. Drivers can switch between hyrbid mode and EV mode in the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime, and the ranges for both are impressive. The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime can get up to 54 miles per gallon, and it can drive 25 miles in EV mode. Although that’s less than some vehicles – the Chevy Volt has an electric range of 53 miles – the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime’s total 640 mile driving range is higher than the Volt’s 420 miles. Related: Toyota’s new Prius Prime has the world’s highest MPGe for a plug-in hybrid The 2017 Prius Prime can drive further than past Prius models due to larger batteries and ” more powerful motors .” With a standard plug, the car can be charged in under five and a half hours. At many public charging stations, the car can be charged in just two hours and ten minutes. According to Toyota, the battery will “last for the life of the vehicle.” The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime solidly beats out the competition in terms of MPGe. The second most efficient , the BMW i3 hits 124 MPGe. The Volkswagen e-Golf and Nissan Leaf rate at 116 MPGe and 114 MPGe, respectively. The Tesla Model S 60D has a rating of 104 MPGe. Toyota says streamlined design is part of what makes the car so efficient. The hatch and rear glass window are aerodynamically formed, and LED signals and taillights, and “Quad-LED projector headlights” allow for efficient lighting. Toyota said in a statement on the new car, “The Prius Prime will please anyone who wants to reduce trips to the gas pump, and it makes a great road trip car, too. The Prius Prime is designed to drive in EV mode in more situations, helping to enhance total vehicle driving range.” Via Carscoops Images via Toyota

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The Toyota Prius Prime is the most efficient electrified car you can buy in the US

10 ingenious Halloween costumes made from recycled junk

October 13, 2016 by  
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When it comes to Halloween, Americans aren’t spooked about buying new costumes or decorations. According to the National Retail Federation , Americans are predicted to spend over $8.4 billon on Halloween goods in 2016 – higher than any year in history. One way to stop contributing to the inevitable waste is to get crafty and make your own costumes out of things you have lying around the house. Here are a ten unique, inspiring costumes made out of recycled junk that are sure to impress on Halloween. 1.Soda Tab Monty Python Black Knight Here’s some brilliant repurposing — the chainmail sleeves on this Black Night rendition of Monty Python and the Holy Grail are made entirely out of discarded soda can tabs. The helmet is made from a garbage can and textured with hot glue. Top that off with some coconut shells and you’ll be as good as gold. RELATED: Trotify Makes Your Bike Sound Like a Galloping Horse 2. Plastic Bag Warrior Princess We’ve all got stock piles of plastic bags, so why not put them to good use? Those with a knack for sewing can make this crafty costume in a cinch. First attach the plastic bag strips to a bodice and hand sew in layers to make the skirt. Using some yarn left over from over knitting projects, build the breastplates and then paint a cardboard sword so you can rock the real warrior look. 3. Walking Game Board If you’re feeling extra nostalgic, try recreating your favorite childhood board game. This costume mimics the Perfection board game using cardboard boxes , old plastic tablecloths, and cut-out shapes. The pop-out game pieces are made with some old sponges, duct tape, and pill bottles. For the full instructions on this particular outfit, check out this past entry from Inhabitat’s Green Halloween Contest. 4. Game of Thrones Illusion Serious Game of Thrones fans will dig this getup. The ode to King Joffrey has a set of false legs, giving the illusion of sitting when the wearer is actually standing and walking inside the throne. This particular illusory costume was made from cardboard boxes, vertical blinds and palm fronds found in a dumpster. The jacket was fashioned out of old fabric, and the fur trim, pants and boots were picked up at a thrift store. The sword was an old prop the creator had on hand. Related: Announcing Inhabitots’ 2016 Halloween Costume Contest! ENTER NOW 5. Claw Machine This clever getup is an ode to those kooky claw machine games . Simply glue recycled boxes together for the body, refashion old spatula handles for the claw, and throw in some old stuffed animals. 6. Couples Tetris Addicted to Tetris ? To fashion a couples costume, simply paint and glue together eight same-sized cardboard boxes. Then cut holes for faces, arms, and for interlocking the boxes. This costume design requires little time or money to pull off, and your friends will love it. 7. Wall-E This version of the beloved waste-collecting Wall-E robot is crafted entirely out of recycled items. The body, eyes and wheels are made from cut cardboard and the pupils were cut from bottoms of plastic bottles. Everything was assembled with a hot glue gun and spray painted to mimic the adorable bot. 8. Trashcan and Recycling Bin Halloween Costume These brother and sister waste and recycling bin outfits are made partly from actual trash. The bodices are made from recycled boxes and some low-VOC paint, while a disk and cardboard depicts the trashcan lid and an old milk jug becomes a recycling top hat. Add some trash and recyclables, and voila! 9. Lego Mini-Figure Zombie This perfectly undead Lego mini-figure zombie costume is made from recycled foam rubber camping mats. After measuring the dimensions of a toy Lego mini-figure in proportion to your own measurements, simply cut out shapes of the camping mats and hot glue the pieces together. Paint on the oozing Lego head and use an auto window tint for visibility. 10. Spider Attack Here’s an ingenious use for old Halloween decor — the spider attack! This works great for a baby costume, but could also be used with multiple spiders for an adult. Make a “swaddle” out of some stretchy white fabric and top it with oversized spider and webbing decorations. Have your own idea for a fabulous costume made from repurposed junk? Submit it into our Green Halloween Costume Contest !

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10 ingenious Halloween costumes made from recycled junk

Toyota donates $1m to build an ultra-green youth campus for Yellowstone National Park

August 26, 2016 by  
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As its name suggests, the new Yellowstone Youth Campus will provide a place of learning for future generations of conservationists. Designed by Hennebery Eddy Architects of Portland, Oregon, the new Yellowstone Youth Campus aims to be the first buildings in a national park to achieve the Living Building Challenge Certification. The Living Building Challenge integrates ecological relationship, cultural heritage, stewardship, sustainability and leadership into all aspects of design, construction and operation. Related: Toyota’s new Texas headquarters will get 25% of its power from the sun “The new Yellowstone Youth Campus is an opportunity to support the conservation principles of the National Park Service while reinforcing Toyota’s commitment to the environment,” said Toyota Motor North America Environmental General Manager Kevin Butt. “We hope this environmental learning center will inspire and empower future leaders in building a more culturally aware, ecologically responsible and regenerative future.” How exactly will the campus achieve the Living Building Challenge Certification? According to Toyota, the buildings have been designed to significantly reduce energy use through special insulation and windows and natural ventilation. Planned photovoltaic arrays on-site will provide more than 100 percent of campus energy needs and 100 percent of the water used at the campus will be locally sourced and all wastewater will be treated on-site for reuse. + Toyota All images @ Toyota

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Toyota donates $1m to build an ultra-green youth campus for Yellowstone National Park

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