Inspenet, September 13, 2023.
FuelCell Energy and Toyota have collaborated to develop the world’s first “tri-generation” system. This converts methane-rich waste gas into electricity, clean hydrogen and water . The world’s leading automaker intends to use this energy at its Southern California port facilities over the next 20 years.
The energy platform is located at Toyota’s main logistics facility in the United States, located at the Port of Long Beach. This has been completed and will begin operating once local permits are granted. Its main function is to convert a stream of biogas, derived from agricultural waste and sludge, into 2.3 MW of electricity, 1,200 kilograms of hydrogen and 1,400 gallons of water per day . According to J, this technology occupies a space equivalent to that of three basketball courts.
“We are effectively producing carbon-neutral electricity for Toyota and green hydrogen and water,” said Jason Few, CEO of FuelCell Energy. “We think of our platform the same way you might think of a software platform. We can offer several different capabilities, so it’s just a matter of which modules you want to activate. In this case, we will deliver three of them to Toyota.”
The completion of this facility comes at a time when the United States is promoting the increasing use of hydrogen from sources that do not emit carbon dioxide . California has been offering incentives for clean energy projects like this for a long time, especially in Southern California ports, which suffer from some of the highest rates of air pollution in the country. Additionally, the Biden administration is implementing generous new federal tax credits for clean hydrogen, reaching up to $3 per kilogram.
Likewise, Bill Gates considers hydrogen as a versatile tool in the fight against the increase in greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to global warming.
FuelCell Energy transforming waste
Toyota plans to use the hydrogen produced by the trigeneration system to fuel a fleet of Kenworth trucks with fuel cell technology that operates at the port, as well as to power Mirai electric sedans that arrive at the port on ships from Japan.
The electrical energy generated by this platform will be used to power all of Toyota’s port operations and, in addition, the water produced by the FuelCell Energy system will be used to wash the approximately 200,000 new vehicles that arrive at the port each year from its plants abroad. .
This agreement between both companies is valid for 20 years and is expected to result in the reduction of more than 9,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually , as reported. Any excess electricity not used by the auto company will be injected into the electrical grid and considered renewable energy for Southern California Edison, the local utility.
In contrast to fuel cells commonly used in vehicles, which generate electricity from hydrogen and only produce water as waste, FuelCell Energy’s technology uses a molten carbonate fuel cell that operates at temperatures of 600°C or higher. The system designed for Toyota is known to be a pioneer in its category, although it is expected that additional versions will be developed in the future that could have a price of around $35 million.
“We believe this has the opportunity to be implemented not only in ports but also in other applications where there is a need for reliable power, hydrogen and water. “For example, mining would be a great application,” he said, without identifying additional customers.