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US$8m for Shell-Toyota LA hydrogen station

Project Portal Class 8 FCEV. Source: Toyota

The California Energy Commission has given provisional approval to help fund the Project Portal hydrogen project at the LA and Long Beach terminals

While Tesla works quietly on its electric Semi, down the coast Toyota has its plans for a hydrogen-powered version for drayage operations. Dubbed Project Portal, Toyota is already testing the class-8 FCEV truck at the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach, where it delivers goods from the terminals to surrounding rail yards and warehouses for distribution.

In addition to testing the vehicle itself, Toyota also plans to set up a hydrogen generation plant with partner Shell Oil Products US – officially listed as Equilon Enterprises – to supply the truck and other FCEVs like its Mirai sedan. On April 20 the two companies announced that they have been provisionally awarded US$8 million in grant funding from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to develop the first refuelling station at the Port of Long Beach.

The project will seek formal approval for the funding at an upcoming CEC meeting. If it does indeed go ahead, Shell would build, own and operate a hydrogen station at the Toyota Logistics Services location at the port, which would fuel the heavy-duty FCEV and Toyota’s public fleets.

In turn, Shell intends to source hydrogen from Toyota’s Long Beach Tri-Gen facility, which produces hydrogen from renewable biogas.

“This station will help the hydrogen-fueled freight sector to flourish in California,” said Shell hydrogen general manager Oliver Bishop. “Hydrogen offers a promising path for decarbonising transport, particularly the heavy-duty sector where there are few alternatives to conventional fuel. Shell and Toyota will combine their expertise to deliver an effective alternative fuel for Californian freight.”

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 Project Portal heavy-duty truck itself 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 tank, on average routes.

“We greatly appreciate the CEC for recognising the importance of this breakthrough project at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles,” said Toyota Motor North America’s director of advanced technology vehicles, Craig Scott. “Toyota continues to demonstrate that fuel cells are one of the most innovative and sustainable technologies for light and heavy-duty vehicle electrification. This initiative with Shell further strengthens our combined commitment to hydrogen as a viable transport fuel and complements our retail station project in Northern California.”


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