First of its Kind Stationary Fuel Cell For Toyota’s Calif Campus

Toyota is going hydrogen for its California campus.

This week Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS) activated a new 1.1-megawatt hydrogen fuel cell generator at its Torrance headquarters campus.

The fuel cell will supply approximately half of the electricity for six headquarter buildings during peak demand, while producing zero emissions.

Designed and built by Ballard Power Systems, the proprietary Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) stationary fuel cell is, according to Toyota, the largest PEM fuel cell of its kind. The fuel cell is powered by hydrogen gas fed directly from a pre-existing industrial hydrogen pipeline, also a first for this technology.

This direct power source allows Toyota to reduce utility grid electricity usage during peak power demand. The same hydrogen pipeline also supplies a hydrogen filling station adjacent to the TMS campus used to fuel Toyota’s and other manufacturers fuel cell hybrid vehicle fleets.

“Supporting alternative energy sources like hydrogen supports Toyota’s overarching commitment to lessen our impact on the environment and drive forward innovative technology,” said Bob Daly, TMS senior vice president. “Not only will this new hydrogen fuel cell generator reduce the environmental footprint of our headquarters campus, but it showcases the power and potential of hydrogen as a fuel source.”

At 1.1 MW, the clean energy fuel cell system on average provides enough power for about 765 homes, twice the capacity of Toyota’s existing solar panel system on campus. It is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 3.3 million pounds during summer peak period operating hours, the equivalent to taking 294 cars off the road a year.

Hydrogen within the dedicated pipeline is provided by Air Products and created from natural gas reformation. To mitigate emissions from the reformation process, hydrogen used on Toyota’s campus will be offset with the purchase of landfill generated renewable bio-gas. Operation of the stationary fuel cell creates zero air emissions.

Electricity generated by the fuel cell fuel is expected to save Toyota approximately $130,000 a year in reduced energy purchased from Southern California Edison.

“Our partnership with Toyota demonstrates the flexibility and positive impact fuel cell technology can have for high volume companies,” said Paul Cass, Ballard Power Systems vice president, operations. “The clean energy fuel cell system provides forward-thinking companies a way to manage peak energy demand or continuously meet power needs.”

Additional project funding was provided by Sustainable Development Technology Canada and California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program.


  • Shines

    I am still skeptical of hydrogen power. I think this phrase is telling: Hydrogen within the dedicated pipeline is provided by Air Products and created from natural gas reformation. To mitigate emissions from the reformation process, hydrogen used on Toyota’s campus will be offset with the purchase of landfill generated renewable bio-gas.

    This “clean” hydrogen is created from fossil fuel and Toyota is paying offsets of bio-gas. Why not quit the baloney and just use a natural gas generator for the power? It would probably be cheaper and just as clean.

  • DC

    If your working in outer space, deep underground, or for some reason, just have to have a pollution free area, then H2 is right for you. The benefits that H2 brings in those niche instances, is invaluable, so paying an energy premium is less of a concern. But, if your only goal is to paint yourself with green-wash, well, thats another matter. This application merely moves the pollution created by the production of the H2 to that magical placed called ‘away’. Since H2 is a net energy loser, no matter what the orginal source of the H2 gas, waterrenewable, coal, NG, whatever, I find it hard to believe Toyotas claim that this system of theirs is somehow reducing emissions.

    Yes, the operation is ZE, at the point of use, but NG reformation and landfill ‘biogas’ are anything but zero emission. How much pollution and waste for example, goes into that landfill? I could be zero emissions too if I wanted, so long as I dont mind off-loading large amounts of pollution onto someone else. Pretending NG and Bio-Gas are pollution free doesn’t hurt either. In fact, best not mention that part of this ‘zero-emission’ system at all. Better that way, right?