Toyota partners in making wind-power hydrogen for fuel cells

March 14, 2016 by Yuri Kageyama
Toyota partners in making wind-power hydrogen for fuel cells
A Toyota fuel cell forklift, right, and a truck designed for hydrogen fueling station and carrying hydrogen, background, are displayed in Yokohama, near Tokyo, after a press event for Hydrogen Supply Chain Demonstration Project Monday, March 14, 2016. Toyota Motor Corp. is trying to answer the main criticism of fuel cell cars: That making the hydrogen for the fuel is not clean. And so the Japanese automaker is going to make hydrogen from wind power. In a project, announced Monday, hydrogen from wind-power plant Hama Wing in Yokohama, southwest of Tokyo, will be compressed and transported by a truck to power fuel-cell forklifts at four sites in the port area - a factory, a vegetable-and-fruit market and two warehouses. Participants are, from left to right, Kawasaki city General Planning Bureau Director General Masasuke Takitoge, Toshiba Corporation new energy solution project Sub-project manager Hiroyuki Ota, Iwatani Corporation director and Executive Officer Katsuya Takemoto, Toyota Motor Corporation senior managing officer Shigeki Tomoyama, Yokohama city director of climate change policy headquarters Norihiko Nomura and Kanagawa prefecture government director general of energy Harumi Matsuura. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

Toyota Motor Corp. is responding to the main criticism of fuel cell cars, that making the hydrogen for the fuel is not clean, with plans to help make the hydrogen using wind power.

Fuel cells are zero-emission, running on the power created when hydrogen combines with oxygen in the air to make water. But to have a totally clean supply chain, the hydrogen must also be cleanly made. Right now, most hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels.

In a project announced Monday, hydrogen from the wind-power plant Hama Wing in Yokohama, southwest of Tokyo, will be compressed and transported by truck to power fuel-cell forklifts at four sites in the area—a factory, a vegetable-and-fruit market and two warehouses.

The project is a partnership between Toyota and the cities of Yokohama and nearby Kawasaki, and the prefectural Kanagawa government.

Japanese electronics and energy company Toshiba Corp. and energy supplier Iwatani Corp. also are involved.

Why not just use the electricity produced by wind power for electric vehicles? Why bother making hydrogen?

Defending the project, Toyota Senior Managing Officer Shigeki Tomoyama stressed that it is easier to store hydrogen than electricity.

Clean hydrogen is the best fix for global warming and energy security, he said.

Toyota partners in making wind-power hydrogen for fuel cells
A Toyota fuel cell forklift, front, and a hydrogen fueling station and carrying hydrogen, background, are displayed in Yokohama, near Tokyo, after a press event for Hydrogen Supply Chain Demonstration Project Monday, March 14, 2016. Toyota Motor Corp. is trying to answer the main criticism of fuel cell cars: That making the hydrogen for the fuel is not clean. And so the Japanese automaker is going to make hydrogen from wind power. In a project, announced Monday, hydrogen from wind-power plant Hama Wing in Yokohama, southwest of Tokyo, will be compressed and transported by a truck to power fuel-cell forklifts at four sites in the port area - a factory, a vegetable-and-fruit market and two warehouses. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

"A stable supply of CO2-free hydrogen is needed," he told reporters at a Yokohama hotel.

Toyota, which makes the Prius gas-electric hybrid, says electric vehicles are limited because of their cruise range.

Wind-powered hydrogen is expected to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by at least 80 percent compared with using gas or grid electricity, according to the companies.

The hydrogen trucks, which were newly developed, serve as hydrogen fueling stations for the forklifts.

Japan hopes to become a leader in hydrogen power and plans to showcase its prowess during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Costs and ensuring an adequate hydrogen supply are obvious challenges.

Toyota's Japanese rival Honda Motor Co. rolled out the latest model of its Clarity fuel cell vehicle last week. Toyota's fuel cell vehicle is called the Mirai.

Such vehicles are still too expensive for regular consumers and are mostly leased to ministries and companies.

Explore further: Toyota, Nissan, Honda back hydrogen stations for fuel cells

Related Stories

Method could make hydrogen fuel cells more efficient

September 23, 2015

With the growth of wind and solar energy and the increasing popularity of electric vehicles, many people in the U.S. may have forgotten about the promised "hydrogen economy." But in research labs around the world, progress ...

Supporting the rollout of hydrogen energy

September 29, 2015

As the UK's first renewable hydrogen refuelling station opens, the Gas Metrology team at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is supporting the rollout of hydrogen vehicles through its hydrogen purity laboratory, which ...

Hydrogen bus trial shows promise

July 24, 2015

Heavy transport that emits heat and water instead of diesel exhaust is within WA's reach, a Murdoch University researcher says.

Recommended for you

A not-quite-random walk demystifies the algorithm

December 15, 2017

The algorithm is having a cultural moment. Originally a math and computer science term, algorithms are now used to account for everything from military drone strikes and financial market forecasts to Google search results.

US faces moment of truth on 'net neutrality'

December 14, 2017

The acrimonious battle over "net neutrality" in America comes to a head Thursday with a US agency set to vote to roll back rules enacted two years earlier aimed at preventing a "two-speed" internet.

FCC votes along party lines to end 'net neutrality' (Update)

December 14, 2017

The Federal Communications Commission repealed the Obama-era "net neutrality" rules Thursday, giving internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T a free hand to slow or block websites and apps as they see fit ...

The wet road to fast and stable batteries

December 14, 2017

An international team of scientists—including several researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory—has discovered an anode battery material with superfast charging and stable operation ...

4 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

gkam
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 14, 2016
Maybe sometime our PV panels will electrolyze water into Hydrogen and Oxygen for the cars.

Good-bye BP.
simzy39
1 / 5 (3) Mar 15, 2016
This is bs.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Mar 15, 2016
It's the most sensible next step. Especially if we think about *way* off-shore wind powerplants which may be used to create hydrogen which is either
a) transported to shore for industrial/transport use
or
b) used to refuel cargo ships en route (shipping is one mother-huge polluter)

Especially b) should become interesting once cargo ship emissions become regulated because hydrogen needs larger tanks than diesel. But cargo ships don't want to spare the extra space.
gkam
1 / 5 (3) Mar 15, 2016
This was done decades ago by the Schatz Energy Center in Humboldt County using PV panels, a fuel cell and an electrolyzer. The PV and electrolyzer separated the working fluid (water) for use and stored the H2. At night, the fuel cell would use the H2 for power.

The power was used not for transportation but for sustaining a remote aquarium. I had arranged for the rights to the fuel cell from them for other purposes.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.