Rendering courtesy of Toyota.
Less than a year after it got into direct combat with the ever-boggling Elon Musk by releasing its own zero-emission (ZE) 18-wheeler at the Port of Los Angeles earlier this year, Toyota announced one step further in the battle for cleaner transportation of goods: it will build the world’s first megawatt-scale hydrogen power station at the Port of Long Beach (along with a fueling station that will use good ol’ cow manure as its dirty base to create clean energy).
California is one of the few places which sells fuel cell cars but they have a minuscule hold on the market—perhaps due to the fact that California has so little hydrogen fuel stations. (31 in total, to be exact, and though that is the most out of any state in the nation, it is not exactly an incentive to invest in the technology. Officials are hoping that will change as efforts to expand stations across the state will take tangible form thanks to Shell, Honda, and Toyota partnering with the State of California to build more.)
The hopes, in Toyota’s eyes, are that the it can further roll out more of their ZE trucks while also upping sales of its consumer-friendly fuel cell car Mirai.
“This is the next step in Toyota’s efforts to build a clean and sustainable future powered by hydrogen,” stated Doug Murtha, Toyota’s VP for strategic planning. “Hydrogen fuel cell technology has the potential to be the powertrain of the future.”
Dubbed the Tri-Gen plant, its technology lies in research based right out of UC Irvine’s National Fuel Cell Research Center—and it will produce 1.2 tons of fuel per day and 2.35 megawatts of electricity, enough to “power the equivalent of about 2,350 average-sized homes and meet the daily driving needs of nearly 1,500 vehicles,” according to Toyota.
Fuel cells don’t depend on a battery to operate. Instead, it uses oxygen gathered from the air in combination with gaseous state of hydrogen, known as compressed hydrogen. The only emission? Water and heat.
And to those who think power is lost, the numbers behind Toyota’s 18-wheeler, in exchange for ZE, are impressive
The Class 8 truck generates more than 670 horsepower from electricity generated by two Mirai fuel cell stacks or enough to pull a total of 80K tons.
Murtha, at last month’s LA Auto Show, not only bragged about the ZE factor but also claimed that acceleration through hydrogen fuel cell technology ousted diesel. When carrying 35K pounds of gross weight, Toytoa’s ZE truck took 8.9 seconds to travel 1/8th mile while its diesel counterpart took 14.6 seconds over the same distance.
The project is expected to be completed in 2020.