At a ceremony held in Torrance, California, Toyota launched the world’s first pipeline-fed proton exchange membrane (PEM) hydrogen fuel cell generator at its headquarters. The generator will utilize hydrogen supplied by Air Products, a global leader in hydrogen fueling technology, through their Southern California pipeline. The pipeline will supply approximately fifty percent of the energy needed to run Toyota’s six headquarter buildings in Torrance, California.
Air Products’ hydrogen pipeline system, which will supply Toyota with approximately half of the energy needed to run the company’s six headquarter buildings in Torrance, California. Credit: Air Products.
“Air Products has a long history of working with Toyota on alternative energy projects and now we add this novel and commendable endeavor. Several years ago, Air Products had the vision of a pipeline-fed hydrogen fueling station as a glimpse of what the future can be. That station operates today fueling vehicles across the street from Toyota’s headquarters. Now that pipeline extends to Toyota’s campus where we will supply on-demand hydrogen to help power several buildings. We applaud Toyota for its progressive and forward-thinking directives in the use of alternative energy,” said Ed Kiczek, global business director Hydrogen Energy Systems at Air Products.
“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, Toyota 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.”
The same Air Products Torrance pipeline boasted another first just over a year ago as the supplier to the United States’ first-ever pipeline-fed hydrogen fueling station. The Torrance, California fueling station today supplies hydrogen for several automobile manufacturers’ fuel cell vehicles in the Los Angeles area. That station is a collaborative effort between Toyota, Air Products, Shell Oil, South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and the Department of Energy (DOE).
In the fall of 2012, NAFTC Multimedia Developer, Julian Orrego toured the Shell Hydrogen Station with Richard Scott, the Operations and Safety Coordinator for Shell Oil Products U.S. The embedded video is an overview of the Shell Hydrogen facility.
PEM hydrogen fuel cells are one of four types of fuel cells. PEM hydrogen fuel cells include a polymer electrolyte, whereas other types of fuel cells include molten carbonate, solid oxide, or phosphoric acid electrolytes. PEM hydrogen fuel cells work by transforming chemical energy into electrical energy through a hydrogen and oxygen reaction. This process is highly efficient; fuel cells are reported to outperform power plants in their efficiency. Additional advantages to fuel cells include the fact that they run quietly, produce water which can be recycled and then re-used in the process, and require relatively low maintenance.
Toyota’s PEM hydrogen fuel cell generator will produce zero air emissions. On average, the generator is capable of producing enough energy to provide for 765 homes. The generator is the first-ever pipeline-fed PEM hydrogen fuel cell generator, although the Air Products Torrance, California fueling station has also supplied hydrogen to several automobile manufacturers in the Los Angeles area.
“The site is a tremendous model to show the efficiencies that can be gained with pipeline-supplied hydrogen to an automobile fueling station. This mode of supply offers the lowest delivered, dispensed, and cost-competitive price for hydrogen fueling on a mass scale,” said Kiczek.