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Waste not, want not at Toyota hydrogen plant

Gas powered: It might look suspiciously like a Kenworth, but this truck with its badges covered runs on Toyota hydrogen fuel-cell power in California.

Toyota’s world-first poo-to-power plant set to supply port and fuel-cell cars

Toyota logo1 Dec 2017

COW poo will fuel the world’s first megawatt-scale carbonate fuel-cell power generation plant being developed on behalf of Toyota at the Port of Long Beach in California.

Methane from the farm waste will generate 2.35 megawatts of electricity a day – enough to power Toyota’s logistics services at the port – as well as 1.2 tonnes of hydrogen to meet the daily driving needs of 1500 fuel-cell vehicles such as Toyota’s Mirai.

It will even turn out some pure water – a handy resource in parched California.

Called Tri-Gen, the plant is scheduled to be up and running by 2020, and will address a major problem of fuel-cell vehicles: a shortage of hydrogen in California – one of the few places in the world where hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles currently operate in any significant numbers.

The facility will include what Toyota describes as one of the world’s largest hydrogen refuelling stations to fuel up Mirai cars as they arrive in the port from Japan, as well as refuel Toyota’s experimental fuel-cell truck, dubbed Project Portal, that operates out of the port.

Technology on the poo-to-power project is a joint venture between FuelCell Energy, the United States Department of Energy, California Air Resources Board, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Orange County Sanitation District, and the University of California at Irvine. Researchers from the latter developed the core technology.

Electricity generated at the plant – enough to power 2350 homes – will make the Toyota logistics operation the first Toyota facility to go 100 per cent renewable on its energy needs. The port handles thousands of new vehicles a year.

Toyota aims to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions from its operations by 2050.

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