FuelCell Energy, Toyota Complete ‘Tri-Gen’ Production System

truck and car in front of Toyota's Long Beach port facility

(Credit: Toyota)

by | Sep 8, 2023

truck and car in front of Toyota's Long Beach port facility

(Credit: Toyota)

FuelCell Energy and Toyota have completed what they call the first-ever ‘Tri-gen” system, which produces renewable electricity, hydrogen, and water from directed biogas, another renewable energy source.

The new Tri-gen technology will be implemented at Toyota’s port vehicle processing facilities, first at the Toyota Logistic Services Long Beach site in California. The facility will now be the first of its kind that is powered 100% by on-site, renewable energy. Carbon-neutral products supplied by Tri-gen are expected to reduce over 9,000 tons of carbon emissions each year.

FuelCell Energy developed the technology, which converts renewable biogas into electricity, hydrogen, and water through a virtually emissions-free process. The Tri-gen system produces 2.3 megawatts of renewable electricity and 1,200 kilograms of hydrogen each day. More than 1,400 gallons of water produced each day from the process will also help save about half a million gallons of water each year that would otherwise strain the local water supply.

Additionally, the companies said the Tri-gen system will help avoid more than 6 tons of NOx emissions, which come from automobiles, trucks, and various non-road vehicles and are especially harmful to people and the environment.

Excess electricity generated by the facility will be given to Southern California Edison, a local utility, under the California Bioenergy Market Adjustment Tariff program.

Hydrogen’s Role in Decarbonizing Shipping and Factory Operations

The growing hydrogen market provides a promising alternative to fossil fuels, especially for sectors considered difficult to decarbonize, like shipping and transportation. Recently, hydrogen fuel cell-powered trucks have been developed, and hydrogen has also been identified as an ideal fuel for backing up other renewable energy sources.

Hydrogen production at Toyota’s facility will support fueling needs for its light-duty fuel cell electric vehicle, the Mirai, while also providing energy for a heavy-duty hydrogen refueling station to support facility logistics.

“Renewable hydrogen is an important fuel for the future of the Port of Long Beach and the shipping industry,” said Port of Long Beach CEO Mario Cordero. “The renewable hydrogen generated by the ‘Tri-gen’ system that Toyota commissioned, and similar projects, is part of our multi-strategy approach to help fuel the transition of equipment like locomotives, harbor craft, cargo-handling equipment, and trucks to zero emissions.”

As car companies continue to develop and release more EVs, decarbonizing the processes through which they are created is another important step in reducing overall emissions in the automotive sector. The project aims to model the potential for fuel cell technology to reduce emissions in commercial operations in the auto industry and beyond.

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