Toyota and FuelCell Energy Plan Massive Hydrogen Fuel Project

hydrogen fuel cells Toyota FuelCell Energy Port of Long Beach
Port of Long Beach. Credit: Kevin Dooley, Flickr Creative Commons

Toyota and FuelCell Energy announced plans for a megawatt-scale carbonate fuel cell power generation plant at the Port of Long Beach. As part of the deal, FuelCell Energy will build the plant, which will supply hydrogen for Toyota’s fuel cell electric vehicles and heavy-duty fuel cell Class 8 proof of concept truck, the companies say.

The new Tri-Gen facility at the Port of Long Beach will use bio-waste sourced from the state’s agricultural operations to generate water, electricity, and hydrogen, according to Toyota.

“Tri-Gen will generate approximately 2.35 megawatts of electricity and 1.2 tons of hydrogen per day, enough to power the equivalent of about 2,350 average-sized homes and meet the daily driving needs of nearly 1,500 vehicles,” Toyota’s press release says. “The power generation facility will be 100% renewable, supplying Toyota Logistics Services’ operations at the Port and making them the first Toyota facility in North America to use 100% renewable power.”

Having a supply of hydrogen from the plant is key for Toyota given the automaker’s proof-of-concept semi truck, the Motley Fool’s Travis Hoium observed this week.

“Unless battery density, charging speed, and costs improve rapidly, electric semis will have a hard time competing in the trucking market beyond short-haul routes,” he wrote. “That could provide an opening for hydrogen if the fuel can be generated cost-effectively and a fueling infrastructure is built.”

Earlier this year, Toyota struck a deal with 7-Eleven Japan that involves developing hydrogen fuel cell trucks and power generators. Toyota is also working with the French company Air Liquide on hydrogen fueling stations.

In their press release about the Port of Long Beach project, FuelCell Energy called fuel cells a highly efficient process for producing power. In addition to fueling vehicles, the companies say that the plant will supply power to the grid under the California Bioenergy Market Adjustment Tariff (BioMAT) program.

“This is an innovative and replicable global model for building an affordable hydrogen infrastructure to generate renewable transportation fuel that facilitates the wider adoption of fuel cell electric cars, trucks and buses,” FuelCell Energy CEO Chip Bottone said in the announcement.

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