The world’s first megawatt-scale hydrogen fuel cell generation plant powered entirely by renewable energy is now being planned for development at the Port of Long Beach by Toyota Motor North America.
The planned “Tri-Gen” facility will feature a hydrogen fueling station, as one would expect, with plans calling for the feedstock to be agricultural waste from California — which will be used to generate water, electricity, and hydrogen.
Once fully online, in 2020 going by the company plans, the facility will generate around 2.35 megawatts (MW) of electricity and 1.2 tons of hydrogen a day, according to Toyota (we assume that actually means 2.35 MWh) — roughly enough to power 2,350 regional homes and provide for the fuel needs of around 1,500 personal vehicles.
Those are not insubstantial numbers, but certainly not anywhere near what you would need were you to try to actually achieve Toyota’s claimed plans with regard to personal hydrogen fuel cell cars.
The facility is officially supposed to provide for the energy needs of Toyota Logistics Services’ (TLS) operations at the Port.
The Group Vice President of Strategic Planning, Doug Murtha, commented on the news: “For more than 20 years, Toyota has been leading the development of fuel-cell technology because we understand the tremendous potential to reduce emissions and improve society. Tri-Gen is a major step forward for sustainable mobility and a key accomplishment of our 2050 Environmental Challenge to achieve net-zero CO2 emissions from our operations.”
The press release provides more: “Tri-Gen is a key step forward in Toyota’s work to develop a hydrogen society. In addition to serving as a key proof-of-concept for 100% renewable, local hydrogen generation at scale, the facility will supply all Toyota fuel-cell vehicles moving through the Port, including new deliveries of the Mirai sedan and Toyota’s Heavy Duty hydrogen fuel cell class 8 truck, known as Project Portal. To support these refueling operations, Toyota has also built one of the largest hydrogen fueling stations in the world on-site with the help of Air Liquide.”
The press release goes on to note that the facility is being developed with the support of various governmental bodies, including the US Department of Energy; as well as the University of California at Irvine.
Continuing, it explains that the company remains “committed to supporting the development of a consumer-facing hydrogen infrastructure to realize the potential of fuel cell vehicles.”
As I remain perplexed by the company’s public support of the technology as a possible large-scale replacement of fossil fuel use in personal cars, I’ll just end things here by noting that the company has partnered with Shell in recent times to collaborate on various possibilities … the same Shell, it should be realized, that has been aggressively targeting the electric vehicle (EV) charging station and superfast-charging sectors this year.
Of course, we also have to recommend this epic takedown of hydrogen fuel cell cars: