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Today’s Pickup: Toyota plant to produce hydrogen fuel for truck project

Toyota announced it is building a Tri-Gen hydrogen plant in California to produce hydrogen fuel for its Project Portal Class 8 hydrogen tractor.

Good day,

One of the questions surrounding hydrogen-fueled vehicles, including trucks, is where will the infrastructure for hydrogen come from? Toyota is attempting to answer that question with the world’s first megawatt-scale carbonate fuel cell power generation plant. The Tri-Gen plant, announced yesterday at the Los Angeles Auto Show, will use bio-waste sourced from California agricultural waste to generate water, electricity and hydrogen.

The plant will supply the hydrogen to power Toyota’s Project Portal Class 8 prototype truck that is in testing in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as well as Toyota fuel cell autos in the area. It is expected to be operation by 2020.

The Tri-Gen will generate approximately 2.35 megawatts of electricity and 1.2 tons of hydrogen per day, Toyota said, enough to power the equivalent of about 2,350 average-sized homes and meet the daily driving needs of nearly 1,500 vehicles. The power generation facility will be 100% renewable, supplying Toyota Logistics Services’ (TLS) operations at the Port and making them the first Toyota facility in North America to use 100% renewable power, the company added.

“For more than twenty years, Toyota has been leading the development of fuel cell technology because we understand the tremendous potential to reduce emissions and improve society,” said Doug Murtha, group vice president- Strategic Planning. “Tri-Gen is a major step forward for sustainable mobility and a key accomplishment of our 2050 Environmental Challenge to achieve net zero CO2 emissions from our operations.”
The facility will supply all Toyota fuel cell vehicles moving through the Port, including new deliveries of the Mirai sedan and Project Portal. Toyota has built one of the largest hydrogen fueling stations in the world onsite with the help of Air Liquide.

Tri-Gen has been developed by FuelCell Energy with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy, California agencies including the California Air Resources Board, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Orange County Sanitation District, and the University of California at Irvine, whose research helped develop the core technology.

Did you know?

According to Glassdoor, the average truck driver pay in October 2017 increased 4.1% year-over-year to $52,629. That followed a 5.7% increase in August and 5% in September. Overall U.S. median pay in October increased 1.6% year-over-year.


“The process we’ve developed is to basically do what regular order is supposed to do. We’re meeting with people, we’re shopping ideas and proposals, vetting them within subcommittees, and then we vote on them. It actually works.”

– Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), on a bipartisan group of lawmakers working on an infrastructure plan

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Final Thoughts

For those concerned about hydrogen infrastructure for vehicles, Toyota is building a prototype hydrogen powerplant in California to support its Project Portal hydrogen tractor and Toyota hydrogen-fueled cars. The company said the plan will produce enough hydrogen to support 1,500 cars daily and will generate all its power from renewable sources. No word on cost, but it’s projects like these are needed to determine whether hydrogen is feasible solution to traditional fuels.

Hammer down everyone!

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]