Toyota is about to begin constructing its dream fuel-cell power plant and hydrogen fueling station at the Port of Long Beach on the California coast. The new fuel-cell facilities will service Toyota's new heavy duty hydrogen fuel-cell electric Class 8 trucks.


Toyota's Project Portal Alpha truck at the Port of Long Beach, California, December 2017
(Photo courtesy Toyota)


The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners last week approved a proposal by Toyota Logistics Services to redevelop its facility at Pier B to build the renewable energy fuel-cell power plant and hydrogen station.


The Port of Long Beach calls itself "The Green Port" runs a Clean Truck Program to minimize air pollution from Port operations.


Toyota operates a marine terminal at the Port of Long Beach where new automobiles are off-loaded from ships, processed and transported off-site by truck and railroad. The planned redevelopment would make those operations more efficient.


“Toyota is demonstrating hydrogen fuel as a viable alternative for fueling vehicles,” said Harbor Commission President Tracy Egoscue. “The example they are setting at the Port of Long Beach should be applauded not only by the goods movement industry, but by everyone who wants a sustainable present and future for our planet.”


Construction on the private project is anticipated to begin later this year and be completed in 18 months.


Plans call for construction of a 2.3 megawatt fuel-cell power plant and a new fueling station that will include hydrogen.


“Toyota is one of our oldest customers,” said Port of Long Beach Executive Director Mario Cordero. “We’ve grown together during a business partnership that’s almost a half-century old, and part of the reason we’ve remained successful is recognizing the need to invest in modernization projects like this to improve our operations.”


The new truck, known as "Beta," expands on the capabilities of Toyota's first Project Portal test vehicle, "Alpha," by increasing the estimated range to more than 300 miles per fill. The Alpha achieved a driving range of a little more than 200 miles per fill.


Since it first began operation in April 2017, the Project Portal Alpha truck has logged nearly 10,000 miles of testing and real-world drayage operations in and around the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles while emitting nothing but water vapor.


Toyota's Beta truck will begin drayage operations in the fall, increasing the Ports' zero emission trucking capacity and further reducing the environmental impact of drayage operations.


"By evaluating the first truck in our test facilities and on the actual roads in the L.A. area, we made a list of improvements for the Beta truck build process and performance enhancements," said Andrew Lund, chief engineer for the project. "We needed to move beyond a proof of concept, which the first truck accomplished, to something that is not only better than the original but is also more commercially viable."


To support these refueling operations, Toyota also has built one of the world's largest hydrogen fueling stations on-site with the help of Air Liquide.


Toyota has said the Tri-Gen facility will be the first megawatt-sized carbonate fuel-cell power generation plant with hydrogen fueling in the world.


"Tri-Gen is a key step forward in Toyota's work to develop a hydrogen society," the automaker says. In addition to serving as a key proof-of-concept for 100 percent renewable, local hydrogen generation at scale, the facility will supply all Toyota fuel cell vehicles moving through the Port of Long Beach.


Thirty-one retail hydrogen stations are now open for business in California, and Toyota is partnering with a broad range of companies to develop new stations. That includes a partnership with Shell that marks the first collaboration between a major automotive and major oil company.



By Sunny Lewis

Environment News Service (ENS)

August 27, 2018