Like most hydrogen-powered vehicles, the Toyota Mirai FCV has been met with passionate supporters and fervent critics alike. Those who advocate for the car preach its forward-thinking intentions and environmental sustainability, while detractors cite expensive infrastructure and a complicated refining process as the vehicle’s main downfalls.
Toyota is on the front lines of hydrogen development, so the automaker hears these arguments more than anybody. To address the issue, the company has premiered a new promotional video series called ‘Fueled by Everything.’ The title of episode one? ‘Fueled by Bullsh*t.’
While it may sound like a taunt at so-called ‘hydrogen haters,’ the tongue-in-cheek commercial uses a mix of humor and scientific explanation to open up the hydrogen discussion. This time, the topic is synthesizing the chemical element from cow manure.
Directed by Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me fame, the video starts with an engineer named Scott Blanchet traveling to meet a dairy farmer named Ron. Upon his arrival, Blanchet is greeted by an enormous, Jurassic Park-worthy pile of doo-doo, one he sees as a potential energy source.
The goal here is to strip the hydrogen from the manure and use it to power a car. To do this, Blanchet takes a truckload of cow pies to an off-site digester, which he loving refers to as a “poo lagoon.”
There, the manure is broken down, releasing methane gas into a purifier and then into storage tanks. Using steam and heat, hydrogen is then stripped from the methane and subsequently packed into the fuel tank of a waiting Mirai.
That simple, right?
“We’re putting hydrogen in the spotlight for its exciting potential as a renewable fuel source,” said Bob Carter, Toyota’s senior VP. “This is the beginning of the road for hydrogen, but we see the potential and we’re making a long-term investment in the future.”
For another perspective, we turn to Ron, the supplier and distributer of the aforementioned poo.
“We’re driving down the road,” he said, “running on bullsh*t.”