In a press release, the automaker revealed it had installed the new system at its Port of Long Beach facility, making it the first site of its kind to generate its own fully renewable electricity. The manufacturer has signed a 20-year deal with FuelCell Energy to continue using the “tri-gen” system for its operations at the plant.
The system converts renewable biofuel to electricity through a combustion-free procedure that creates both hydrogen and water byproducts. FuelCell Energy claims that the process creates “virtually no air pollutants” and can generate up to 2.3 megawatts of power. The hydrogen created by “tri-gen” will be used for Toyota’s upcoming fuel-cell-powered Mirai sedan in addition to a local hydrogen refueling station. The automaker will also use the water created by the system for car washes at the facility, saving up to 500,000 gallons annually.
“Renewable hydrogen is an important fuel for the future of the Port of Long Beach and the shipping industry,” noted port CEO Mario Cordero. “The renewable hydrogen generated by the ‘Tri-gen” system that Toyota commissioned, and similar projects, is part of our multi-strategy approach to help fuel the transition of equipment like locomotives, harbor craft, cargo-handling equipment and trucks to zero emissions.”
Since appointing its new CEO Koji Sato earlier this year, Toyota has sought to accelerate its green-energy initiatives to counter the effects of a constrained electric vehicle program under the leadership of former chief Akio Toyoda. However, while the automaker has emphasized its support for the EV transition, it has continued to leverage hydrogen energy in both its products and global operations. Hydrogen is one of the most available chemicals in the universe, but current processes of extracting or preparing the gas for use in electricity generation are largely inefficient.