Toyota Mirai Billboards In LA, SF Will Literally Clean The Air

7 months ago by Sebastian Blanco 63

Toyota Mirai Billboard

Toyota Mirai Billboard clean NOx from the air.

Toyota Mirai

Toyota Mirai

What happens when you put titanium dioxide coated vinyl up on a billboard? Apparently, you can capture nitrogen dioxide (NOx) floating around and make the air cleaner. Toyota is going to do just that as a way to promote the Mirai Fuel Cell in the Los Angeles and San Francisco. The company is putting up 37 ads in early April that will cover a total of 24,960 square feet in the two cities. That’s enough to to “scrub” the equivalent NOx emissions of 5,285 vehicles each month, Toyota says. The automaker even wrapped a Mirai in titanium dioxide coated vinyl when it announced the ad campaign ad the first Environmental Media Association Impact Summit in Beverly Hills today.

Putting titanium dioxide on surfaces exposed to the elements to capture NOx is nothing new. In 2008, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory prepared a report called Evaluation of Titanium Dioxide as a Photocatalyst for Removing Air Pollutants for the California Energy Commission that found that, “Widespread use of titanium dioxide nanoparticles in building materials, and on roads, freeway sound walls, and so forth, is proposed by proponents of the technology, but the efficacy of this approach has been unclear.” And, as ThomasNet explained five years ago, titanium dioxide (TiO2) is used in things like toothpaste and white paint and:

Nitrogen oxide (NOx), a primary component of smog, is one of the contaminants rendered harmless by TiO2. The reaction between the titanium dioxide, ultraviolet light and water vapor transforms the airborne NOx into a nitrate that while perhaps is not ecologically neutral certainly is better for air quality. (Too much nitrate in groundwater has been tenuously linked to methemoglobinemia, or blue baby syndrome, in young infants, particularly in areas where there are high concentrations of nitrates from fertilizer in soil and groundwater.)

Let’s not worry about that last bit, though. The billboards will only be up until May 28th.

Source: Toyota

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63 responses to "Toyota Mirai Billboards In LA, SF Will Literally Clean The Air"

  1. ffbj says:

    I see you are a sailor, but I don’t see a Mirai in your future. –Gypsy

    1. ijonjack says:

      Since Toyota Doesn’t the Sunshine to Charge Up the Toyota Mirai ., They can Stick the Toyota Mirai , Up Where the Sun Don’t Shine .

    2. ijonjack says:

      Since Toyota Doesn’t need the Sunshine to Charge Up the Toyota Mirai ., They can Stick the Toyota Mirai , Up Where the Sun Don’t Shine .

  2. mx says:

    Stupidest idea in the world.
    You’ve got to wonder what brand of pot, they some in Japanese CEO board meetings.

    In reality, this is what’s wrong with top-down management style in Japan. No one can tell the CEO his idea is insane.

    No one needs hydrogen from methane, and that’s were it will come from.

    1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

      Don’t be ignorant. For the past couple of years about 45% of the hydrogen sold as fuel for HFCVs at California public hydrogen stations was from renewable sources as verified by CARB. Stop making up alternative facts/news.

      1. James says:

        What about the other 55% then?

        1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

          The other 55% is most likely hydrogen from steam reformed natural gas, which produces much less WTW CO2 emissions for a HFCV than a comparable ICE car running on gasoline. But why does that bother you when both the U.S electrical grid mix and California grid mix has a higher percentage of fossil fuels (greater than 55%) to make electricity?

          Last I checked the U.S. electrical grid mix is 68% fossil fuels (33% natural gas, 33% coal, 1% petroleum, and 1% other gases).
          https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3

          Last I checked the California electrical grid mix is at least 50% to 63.5% fossil fuels (44% natural gas, 6% coal, and 13.5% “unspecified sources of power”).
          http://www.energy.ca.gov/almanac/electricity_data/total_system_power.html

          1. Kdawg says:

            Does that count people using home solar, or just energy supplied by power companies?

            1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

              I’m not sure, but I my guess is that it includes only the excess solar output from home and business PV solar arrays that utilities must buy under net metering plans (at full retail price). Anyone else care to chime in?

          2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            sven repeated his fool cell fanboy propaganda:

            “The other 55% is most likely hydrogen from steam reformed natural gas, which produces much less WTW CO2 emissions for a HFCV than a comparable ICE car running on gasoline.”

            That’s a Big Oil shill’s half truth.

            Here’s the whole truth:

            Every emissions reduction technology including ordinary small engined gasoline and diesel vehicles compares favorably to the DOE’s official NREL emissions numbers for hydrogen when the comparison given is a reasonable one. A vehicle of the same 90~100 kW power output as a fuel cell vehicle (and not a 200+ kW, 23 MPG gas guzzler)

            For those who want actual facts and figures — lots of them — rather than Big Oil propaganda, see “Time To Come Clean About Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles”:

            https://cleantechnica.com/2014/06/04/hydrogen-fuel-cell-vehicles-about-not-clean/

        2. zzzzzzzzzz says:

          Remaining 55% came from coal & fracking powered electricity I guess :/

      2. Omar Sultan says:

        Oh, please, you mean the massive amounts of H2 needed for all 20 stations in CA? 95% of the H2 produced in the US is via steam methane reformation which does not exactly help out on there GHG front as it directly produces CO2 plus the GHG needed to create the power to drive the SMR reaction. SMR is the method of choice because all the other methods either cost more and/or do not run at industrial scale. You are better of using the electricity to directly charge EV batteries than you are using it to create H2 as an intermediate carrier.

        1. SJC says:

          It does not produce the combustion pollution that fossil fueled power plants do to charge EVs.

          1. Nick says:

            [ citation needed ]

          2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Wut?

            Where do you think the energy come from to reform methane into frackogen (hydrogen from natural gas)?

            Where do you think the energy comes from to compress the hydrogen, after it’s generated, to 10,000 PSI?

            Where do you think the energy comes from to transport the compressed hydrogen via tanker truck? (It’s under too much pressure to be carried by via ordinary oil and natural gas pipelines.)

            Where do you think the energy comes from to power the hydrogen dispensing stations, which must re-compress the highly compressed hydrogen every time it fills a car, to maintain that very high pressure?

            Hint: All that energy doesn’t come from unicorns or rainbows!

            Starting with natural gas instead of using electrolysis to generate the hydrogen saves some energy, but not that much compared to how much electricity is wasted in either case. It’s a difference of wasting about 2/3 of the energy in the hydrogen instead of about 3/4.

            I don’t understand why we need to keep repeating this. The facts are well established. Sure, Big Oil propaganda keeps trying to obscure the truth, but the actual facts are pretty easy to find on many physics and “green tech” websites, for those who care to look.

            “Facts are stubborn things.” — John Adams

            https://web.archive.org/web/20150419031629/http://www.energyandcapital.com/articles/hydrogen-economy-fuel+cell/480

            https://phys.org/news/2006-12-hydrogen-economy-doesnt.html

          3. speculawyer says:

            Dude, this is basic chemistry. CH4 + 2H2O -> 6H2 + CO2

            That CO2 gets vented into the atmosphere (along with the other trace gases mixed in, some of which are toxic).

      3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        sven claimed:

        “For the past couple of years about 45% of the hydrogen sold as fuel for HFCVs at California public hydrogen stations was from renewable sources as verified by CARB.”

        Hey, way to shill for Big Oil, Sven.

        That figure you cite came from CFCP, the California Fuel Cell Partnership, right? And who funds that? Big Oil & Gas, of course.

        Of course, we have no reason to doubt Big Oil propaganda, or the numbers posted at CFCP’s website, right? I mean, if you can’t trust Big Oil, then who can you trust?

        /sarcasm

        1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

          No, you fanboi troll, the figures I cite came directly from CARB in its 2016 Annual Evaluation, page 63:

          “Carbon Intensities and Resource Consumption
          Although the number of stations has changed slightly since the last Annual Evaluation, there has not been a significant shift in the projected renewable fueling proportion of the funded hydrogen fueling network. Assuming business-as-usual based on the funded network, the hydrogen fuel dispensed in California is expected to contain on average 45% renewably-sourced hydrogen. This is substantially greater than SB 1505’s requirement of 33% for all stations receiving State funding.”
          https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/zevprog/ab8/ab8_report_2016.pdf

      4. speculawyer says:

        Don’t be ignorant. There are only . .. what . . maybe 1000 fuel cell cars in California. Yeah, you can make hydrogen for 1000 cars with biogas.

        But if they they actually sold tens of thousands of them then they would nearly all be running on methane sourced hydrogen because there isn’t that much biogas. That’s BS PR move.

        So don’t try to mislead people with that garbage.

        1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

          By law, California mandates/requires 33% of hydrogen dispensed from fueling stations to be made from renewable sources. Renewable hydrogen is also made by electrolysis. A 100% renewable hydrogen plant is currently being built in Palm Springs, California.

          https://www.gasworld.com/north-americas-largest-100-renewable-hydrogen-plant-ahead/2011670.article

  3. mx says:

    Those in CARB who support this should be FIRED.

    1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      Thanks goodness CARB doesn’t report to every idiot Tesla fanboy looking for a fight, or stock pumper, so they can support something that actually makes sense for air quality.

      Cars like Mirai literally clean air as it gets filtered for fuel cell. It compensates for up to few “clean” diesels or tire burning and PM spewing overweight dragsters, depending on actual air pollution level.

      1. William says:

        Oh, and that is the whole story? You can be a little more objective in your assessment, if you broaden your scope on the bigger Hydrogen Picture. There are plenty of data points that can be cherry picked to make Hydrogen smell like roses. Let’s take a look at who is pushing Hydrogen and its deployment, and then ask the “Driving Public” which side they are going to financially support in their future mobility solutions. The cost conscious driver will side with the better bargain and value.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        zzzzzzzzzz repeated his fool cell fanboy propaganda:

        “Cars like Mirai literally clean air as it gets filtered for fuel cell.”

        I find it truly amazing just how much complete and utter B.S. that Big Oil shills apparently think people will swallow.

        There is B.S., and then there is…

        http://i0.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/589/793/e7d.gif

    2. speculawyer says:

      Meh . . . keep it around as a science project but don’t blow lots of money on it until it can prove to be somewhat practical. Which may be never.

  4. ThombdBhomb says:

    Leave the billboards up, but allow the nitrate-water to drip down into a woodchip bioreactor at the base of the billboard. That will convert the nitrate into harmless nitrogen gas and water.

    1. ijonjack says:

      A Harmless……KAB00M!….. l o l …..

      1. ThombdBhomb says:

        I hope N2 isn’t explosive; our atmosphere is about 78% N2

        1. speculawyer says:

          N2 is obviously not explosive but ammonium nitrate is.

          1. ThombdBhomb says:

            Ammonium nitrate isn’t an issue. You don’t hear of any currently working woodchip bioreactors exploding.

  5. Someone out there says:

    The billboard does more good than the car.

    1. DangerHV says:

      LOL!!!

    2. Brian F says:

      Exactly!

    3. SJC says:

      I would not be so sure, over the years a fuel cell care sucks a lot of air in through filters.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        And what comes out of the tailpipe of the fool cell car? Hint: Toyota executives refused to drink it, even after claiming it was pure water.

        The idea that running a fool cell car is somehow good for the environment, even aside from all the pollution generated by all the wasteful processed necessary to get the hydrogen fuel into the car…

        Well, Big Oil propaganda is certainly persistent, innit?

        http://gas2.org/2014/12/01/toyota-dont-drink-fuel-cell-water/

  6. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

    In California there are proposed plans to build pipelines to use the pure oxygen by-product from newly constructed solar/wind-powered hydrogen electrolyzer plants to make electricity at natural gas power plants. By using pure oxygen instead of nitrogen-rich air for combustion at a natural gas power plant, NOx emissions are eliminated and California’s smog level is reduced. This use of a byproduct of a renewable electrolysis plant helps to reduce the NOx emissions of EVs and everything that runs on electricity. We should always look at the big picture with regards to reducing of eliminating climate change, CO2, emissions, and NOx emissions.

    1. Get Real says:

      Fool Cell sven will keep on shilling for the Fossil Fuel companies so their can be more pipelines crisscrossing the country to support Rube Goldberg contraptions like this latest idea.

      Yes sven, lets waste untold KWHs of renewable electricity to…burn more fracked natural gas to replace the renewable electricity your contraption just wasted and push the fantasy of fool cell cars!!!

      Instead, we can just utilize those renewable energy KWHs right into our car and eventually home/office/factory batteries and other efficient ways like pumped hydro storage.

      I tell you, I’ll believe your hydrogen fantasy just as soon as I see the Big Oil companies, and not the taxpayers, buiding out the massively expensive infrastructure for their product which I can’t help but notice isn’t happening and won’t happen for some reason to do with physics practicality and costs.

      1. SparkEV says:

        Why isn’t there more pumped hydro? Near Malibu is Santa Monica mountains of 3000+ ft, and a sea water reservoir would be pretty easy (eg. giant tarp up in them hills). NIMBY push back by celebrities?

        1. DangerHV says:

          I agree pumped hydro has great potential, but the geography has to be just right to be cost effective. I have also looked into this.

      2. zzzzzzzzzz says:

        “we can just utilize those renewable energy KWHs right into our car”

        What moron you need to be to imagine it will work every time when charging at night, in winter, when Sun is behind the clouds, and some tiny and expensive 60 kWh battery will be enough to cover you for all season?

        Sure, Dear Leader must love such brainless cult members. They make good trolls :/

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          zzzzzzzzzz said:

          “…brainless cult members”

          I presume you’re referring to your fellow fool cell fanboys?

    2. Kdawg says:

      Why not just use the electricity from the wind/solar directly instead of cracking water?

      1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

        With the present level of solar and wind penetration/uptake in California, the state often produces excess renewable energy during the day, which results in negative pricing for electricity. Electricity generation priority rules mandate/require the grid operator to always purchase renewable electricity whenever it is available. When there is excess renewable electricity, the California grid operators often pay the Arizona grid operator to take the excess electricity (negative pricing) or tells the solar/wind farms to shut down. But the solar/wind farms still get paid when they’re asked to shut down for the electricity that they would have sold to the grid.

        Grid-level battery storage systems and hydrogen electrolyzers are trying to solve the above problem of excess renewable power generation. But California plans to double, even triple, it’s renewable energy generation in the coming decades. As the percentage of solar and wind in the California grid mix continues to increase every year so does the frequency and amount of excess renewable energy generated. Whether the excess renewable electricity should be stored in batteries or electrolyzed or a some mix of the two is the subject of much heated debate on the internet.

        https://ww2.kqed.org/science/2016/04/04/what-will-california-do-with-too-much-solar/

        https://www.marketplace.org/2016/06/07/world/excess-solar-power-ca-pay-arizona-take-it

        1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

          Here is a link to the 100% renewable hydrogen plant being built in Palm Springs, California.
          https://www.gasworld.com/north-americas-largest-100-renewable-hydrogen-plant-ahead/2011670.article

          Here is link to the use of excess renewable energy to inject hydrogen into the natural gas supply for use in appliances and powerplants, demonstrating the use of excess clean electricity that would otherwise go to waste.
          https://news.uci.edu/faculty/in-a-national-first-uci-injects-renewable-hydrogen-into-campus-power-supply/

          1. Get Real says:

            Well, it only took me about 5 minutes of searching to find this interesting connections:

            The company that sven linked in

            thehttps://www.gasworld.com/north-americas-largest-100-renewable-hydrogen-plant-ahead/2011670.article

            (how appropriate that sven would link in an article by a fossil fuel trade association publication!)

            Hydrogenetics has as its largest institutional shareholder a certain Heartland Advisors Inc.

            http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/hygs/institutional-holdings

            And the founder, president and fund manager of Heartland is Bill Nasgovitz who is a long time board member of this “Stink Tank” because it is closely associated with the Koch Heads ALEC right-wing political money laundering machine.

            http://www.wpri.org/WPRI/About-WPRI/Bill-Nasgovitz1.htm

            http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Wisconsin_Policy_Research_Institute

            So, is it possible that the Koch Heads and their fellow fossil fuel friends are in addition to spending hundreds of millions of dollars on taking over the Republican Party through the astroturf Tea Party they are also funneling money to Hydrogen to delay and obfuscate the incredibly rapid advances being made in both BEVs and electrical storage?

            Inquiring minds want to know and I wouldn’t put it past them to try shenanigans of these types.

            1. Get Real says:

              Sorry but the rest of my comment didn’t make it in my post above.

              I do think that the one possible intelligent use of Hydrogen through cracking water with renewable electricity could be storing power for STATIONARY power plants.

              However, the efficiency is still extremely low and other methods like pumped hydro are more efficient and battery storage will have the key advantage of being easily deployable in a distributed generation and grid which is the future of electricity in most places anyway.

              So if the fossil fools want to spend THEIR money building up a fantastically expensive and inefficient hydrogen infrastructure then so be it

              Let the best technology win!

            2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              “(how appropriate that sven would link in an article by a fossil fuel trade association publication!)”

              Yup. In his time here, Sven has degenerated from an EV advocate who made valuable contributions to the discussion, to a Tesla basher, and now to an outright Big Oil shill and fool cell fanboy.

              “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” 🙁

              1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

                The only valuable contribution you make to a discussion is when you leave. You don’t even own an EV and drive an ICE minivan.

        2. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

          Graph of California’s excess renewable electricity production from the first link:

          1. Nick says:

            Need more EVs!

            Demand following charging is perfect for this.

        3. SparkEV says:

          CA electricity price is highest during mid-day when solar output is also highest. If they literally have to pay AZ to take excess, they could just as well lower the peak pricing in CA and collect money from customers instead of paying out of state.

          Instead, they jacked up the price yet again, which means they’re discouraging usage. If they are indeed having to pay AZ, they’d be losing even more money. I doubt there’s oversupply in CA. Or maybe they’re just morons (which doesn’t surprise me).

        4. Kdawg says:

          Based on the efficiency, and not having to build a hydrogen infrastructure, it would better to store in Li-ion batteries vs. hydrogen.

  7. Vexar says:

    Titanium dioxide is what they put in paint to make it white. This is inane. That’s like saying I’m helping the trees to grow by breathing. There’s no metric, and these aren’t special signs!

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that this is nothing but more greenwashing from Toyota. After all, everything they say about their fool cell cars (while bashing BEVs) is greenwashing.

      *Sigh*

  8. DangerHV says:

    “titanium dioxide (TiO2) is used in things like toothpaste…”
    Lets all smile more to help the environment. (Can’t hurt, anyway)

  9. So what happens to 24,950 sq ft of vinyl wrapping after it’s hung up for just two months?

    Landfill, or ocean as floating plastic bits?

    I’m sure not many recycling centers will accept titanium coated vinyl.

    BTW: Is CARB going to test the air in front and behind the signs to see if any difference in NOx concentrations?
    ie: any science being done, or is this a pure greenwash marketing effort

  10. Nicholas says:

    It’s a new kind of vinyl, I’m going to ask my mayor for all future billboards to use it. Join me.

  11. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that the solution is better science education in schools.

    I’m about to give up on the X generation.

    Kids, it’s all up to you now.

  12. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    So, we’re supposed to be grateful that Toyota is putting some sort of coating on some billboards which will, temporarily, absorb a bit of the toxic gasses its gasmobiles spew out, when advertising fool cell cars which, between all the frackogen used to power them, plus the profligate and wasteful amount of electricity used to generate, compress, and dispense “renewable” hydrogen, makes the Mirai fool cell car more polluting than a compact, fuel-efficient gasmobiles on a well-to-wheel basis?

    Here’s what I’d be grateful if Toyota would do: Stop putting out anti-BEV propaganda while promoting the galactically wasteful and frankly stupid idea of trying to power cars with compressed hydrogen gas.

    Fool cell cars make a nice science experiment, but they have absolutely no rational reason to be funded by taxypayer dollars.

    1. Spider-Dan says:

      The “wells-to-wheels” argument you just made is literally the same argument that anti-EV people used against BEVs in areas with “dirty” electricity generation.

      The current composition of H2 sourcing is not a valid argument against the continuing development of FCVs, any more than the lack of solar and wind farms 20 years ago was a valid argument against the continuing development of BEVs.

  13. Spider-Dan says:

    I continue to be disappointed by the fervor with which EV advocates attack FCVs. I have heard far, FAR more EV advocates bash the Mirai than the Prius. Think about why that is.

    The irony is that this is just another expression of the same kind of thinking that resulted in our current political situation: advocates of “perfect” (BEVs) would much rather attack “good” (FCVs) than “bad” (ICE). In fact, “good” is actually WORSE than “bad” because “good” is incrementalism that delays “perfect”.

    And then Trump is President, BEVs are undermined, climate regulations are dismantled, and ICE sales grow.

  14. Niels says:

    So now Toyota will turn smog into acid rain as means of advertising their fuel cell tech?

    Really? Acid Rain?