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Toyota to build Tri-Gen plant for power, hydrogen in Long Beach

Fuelcell Energy Tri-Gen unit

Combined electricity and hydrogen Tri-Gen plant will supply Project Portal truck and Mirai FCEVs with fuel

Undeterred in its commitment to hydrogen technology, Toyota recently announced that it had begun trialling Project Portal – a class 8 truck powered by a hydrogen fuel cell – at the Port of Los Angeles. Now, ahead of the LA Motor Show, it has confirmed where some of that hydrogen might come from.

The company intends to build a combined carbonate fuel cell power plant, complete with a hydrogen fueling station, at the Port of Long Beach. The Tri-Gen facility, based on technology developed by FuelCell Energy and the backed by the US Department of Energy, will be the first megawatt-scale facility of its kind and will burn California agricultural waste to generate water, electricity and hydrogen.

Once brought online in 2020, the Tri-Gen plant will generate approximately 2.35 MW of electricity and 1.2 tons of hydrogen per day, the latter supplying Toyota Logistics Services’ Project Portal truck, as well as other FCEV vehicles (including deliveries of the automaker’s flagship FCEV sedan, the Mirai).

The Project Portal heavy-duty truck generates more than 670 horsepower and 1,325 pound-feet of torque from two fuel cell stacks – taken from the company’s Mirai FCEV – and a 12kWh battery. With a gross combined weight capacity of 80,000 lbs, its estimated driving range is more than 200 miles per fill, under normal drayage operation.

Project Portal
Project Portal

According to a white paper published by Fuelcell Energy, the Tri-Gen system is a modified version of the company’s SureSource 3000 plant, in which hydrocarbon fuels are sent directly through fuel stacks where they are reformed into hydrogen. SureSource plants power generation consumes about 70% of the internally reformed hydrogen. The remaining 30% is used in a catalytic reactor to pre-heat incoming process air.

It does not require additional fuel or water to produce hydrogen, and emissions during the process are reportedly 40% less than conventional steam methane reformation.

Toyota said that 31 retail hydrogen stations are now open in California, and that the company will continue to partner with other companies to develop new stations, including an ongoing partnership with oil major and fuel station operator Shell.


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