FuelCell Energy to build plant to power Toyota vehicles
FuelCell Energy will enter into carbon negative territory under an agreement with Toyota that will see the Danbury-based company build a fuel cell power plant to produce hydrogen to supply the automaker’s fuel cell-powered electric vehicles.
The plant, which will be installed and operated by FuelCell Energy at the Port of Long Beach in California, will also generate renewable power to be sold to the grid under a tariff program. The plant will be powered by renewable biogas.
Toyota will purchase renewable hydrogen to fuel its Mirai fuel cell electric vehicles as they arrive at the port as well as its heavy-duty fuel cell Class 8 truck. The powering of the vehicles will be carbon negative, according to the California Air Resources Board, as the hydrogen-generation process is carbon neutral, the fuel cell waste heat is utilized and it replaces a gas-powered engine.
Fuel cell vehicles do not produce harmful emissions.
“It’s a pretty neat sustainability story,” Kurt Goddard, vice president of investor relations for FuelCell Energy, said.
The company has a similar, but much smaller, tri-generation plant at its Torrington manufacturing facility. Goddard said this is the first mega-watt class unit of this type for FuelCell Energy. The trademarked name for this type of plant is SureSource.
“We see it as a global opportunity,” Goddard said, adding that the present infrastructure for powering fuel cell vehicles presents a challenge.
Fuel Cell Energy CEO Chip Bottone added: “This is an innovative and replicable global model for building an affordable hydrogen infrastructure to generate renewable transportation fuel that facilitates the wider adoption of fuel cell electric cars, trucks and buses.”
The project, according to a Toyota official, meets the automaker’s fueling needs affordably and sustainably. It also advances California’s hydrogen fueling infrastructure, while adhering to the state’s mandate for utilizing low-carbon and renewable sources.
“Fueling our (truck and vehicles) with 100 percent renewable hydrogen from this stationary fuel cell system is a major accomplishment, and a key step in building a sustainable hydrogen ecosystem to help power port operations,” said Doug Murtha, group vice president of strategic planning for Toyota. “Toyota is a company dedicated to advancing sustainability, and this project supports our ongoing efforts to both eliminate carbon emissions and accelerate the development and adoption of emission-free fuel cell electric vehicles.”
FuelCell Energy’s tri-generation plants co-produce hydrogen and clean power from methane-based fuels such as renewable biogas. The methane is reformed to hydrogen using water and heat produced by the fuel cell, which results in clean hydrogen production without water consumption.
Toyota’s Mirai travels an estimated 312 miles per fill. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $57,500.