Toyota Combats Climate Change by Turning Methane into Electricity

Dec 11, 2014 04:41 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

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Toyota's biggest assembly plant will be partially powered by methane gas from a local landfill that has been converted to electricity, the automaker said Wednesday.

Working with Waste Services of the Bluegrass, Toyota's Kentucky division will tap local landfill gas to create enough power to build 10,000 vehicles each year and improve local air quality.

The project, which is part of Toyota's green efforts to combat global warming, should reduce local air pollution by as much as 90 percent once it's completed early next year, according to the company.

Toyota's Georgetown assembly line has built 10 million vehicles and has a workforce of around 7,000 people.

In another green initiative, Toyota is putting its hydrogen fuel-cell, zero-emission Toyota Mirai in dealerships next year. The four-door sedan is expected to have a driving range of about 300 miles and a refueling time of just three to five minutes.

Coming after a decade of road testing, the Mirai runs on hydrogen and emits water vapor instead of exhaust emissions.

Besides repurposing air pollution, Toyota is looking to "reduce energy use from stationary sources by 12 percent per vehicle produced by fiscal year 2016, from a 2010 baseline," the automaker said in its 2014 Environmental Report. The emissions target affects around 85 of Toyota's North American facilities.

Climate change made headlines this week as environmental ministers from around the globe clashed over an international accord intended to reduce emissions. Part of the annual forum of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the 12-day discussion of the draft is scheduled to end on Friday in Lima, according to Discovery News.

Countries continue to contend with each other over which should make the greatest effort to lower carbon emissions. 

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