Mazda launches project with oil giant to cut CO2 emissions

14 August 2018

14 August 2018 Mazda has kicked-off a research project with the dual aim of creating a low-carbon fuel and a future-proof combustion engine. The manufacturer is partnering with oil company Saudi Aramco and Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). As part of the project, Saudi Aramco is creating new fuel designed to result in lower CO2 emissions while modernising the refining process. On the other side of the coin, Mazda is aiming to create a more fuel-efficient and low-carbon evolution for traditional carbon-engines. The project is part of Mazda’s ′multi-solution approach to reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions’ which provides alternatives to EVs, a part of its Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030 plan. The approach is supported by International Energy Agency research, which stated 84% of vehicles globally will still make use of combustion engines in 2035. Mazda, Saudi Aramco and AIST launch research project Taking a ′well-to-wheel perspective’ Mazda aims to restructure its approach surrounding oil. The initiative supports Mazda’s multi-solution approach to reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions. The company believes 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 in road traffic. Whether this will be viable long-term remains to be seen; Economist at Total SA, Joel Couse challenged oil’s long-term relevance, saying that ′by 2030 demand for oil-based fuel will have reached its peak, and will then flatten out at a steady demand’. This is not the first time ′big oil’ has taken action against the onrushing developments of EVs. Saudi Aramco President and CEO Amin Nasser previously hit back against what he called ′the growing belief that the world can prematurely disengage from proven and reliable energy sources like oil and gas, on the mistaken assumption that alternatives will be rapidly deployed.’ Oil companies are aware of the need to develop new business models and remain relevant as the automotive landscape changes from the internal combustion engine to an electrified future. Saudi Aramco’s move to develop new fuels follows the news that BP has bought charging station manufacturer Chargemaster, while Royal Dutch Shell is joining the Ionity project with a number of vehicle manufacturers to develop and install fast-charge points across Europe. Mazda’s goal to use existing technologies while reducing CO2 output is evident in its development of the SkyActiv-X engine, a new form of petrol engine, which does away with spark plugs and works on the same principle as a diesel, using compression to produce the ignition of fuel and therefore making the engine more efficient and less polluting.