How Toyota Plans to Replace Diesel Power With Hydrogen in the Industrial Sector

Toyota Hydrogen Drive 8 photos
Photo: Toyota Motor Company
First Project Portal TruckFirst Project Portal TruckFirst Project Portal TruckStationary fuel cell generatorStationary fuel cell generatorHydrogen Drive - Horizontal VersionHydrogen Drive - Vertical Version
Along with petrol engines, diesels are slowly but surely phasing out in the automotive world. They are still widely used in the industrial sector because of their reliability and low maintenance costs. Toyota is determined to change that, and its engineers have been hard at work developing various hydrogen alternatives tailored for a wide range of applications.
By now, we’re all familiar with the Mirai, Toyota’s mass-produced hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), a model that brought this technology into the mainstream.

The car was unveiled in 2014, but the Japanese manufacturer has been developing hydrogen-based propulsion systems since the early nineties.

Project Portal

First Project Portal Truck
Photo: Toyota Motor Company
Apart from passenger vehicles, the company has also been focusing its efforts on developing zero-and near-zero emission solutions for the industrial sector. One example is Toyota Motor North America’s Project Portal, a hydrogen fuel cell system designed for heavy-duty truck use.

The first version was revealed in 2017, in the shape of a fully functional concept truck used in the Port of Los Angeles. Said truck is powered by two fuel cell stacks sourced from the first generation Mirai, along with a 12kWh battery.

Combined, the stacks generate more than 670 hp and 1,325 lb-ft (1,796 Nm) of torque, enabling the truck to haul loads of up to 80,000 lbs (36.2 metric tons) while also providing an estimated driving range of more than 200 miles (321 km) per fill, under normal drayage operation.

In the following years, the project yielded other functional hydrogen-powered semis. Through an ongoing partnership with Kenworth, this technology is now available on the Kenworth T680E Class 8, K270E Class 6, and K370E Class 7 trucks.

Stationary fuel cell generator

Stationary fuel cell generator
Photo: Toyota Motor Company
Another successful project is deploying a stationary, zero-emission generator installed within the Honsha Plant grounds in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture.

The fuel cell generator uses two complete fuel cell systems borrowed from the Mirai FCEV, including fuel cell stacks power control units and a secondary battery. It has a rated output of 100 kW (134 hp) that can be reached in 40 seconds after startup.

After successfully testing the generator at its Honsha plant, Toyota continues its development, intending to increase its efficiency and make it available as an alternative for the diesel generators currently being used in a wide range of industries.

Hydrogen Drive modular systems

Hydrogen Drive \- Horizontal Version
Photo: Toyota Motor Company
The most recent development involving hydrogen-based power sources is the range of packaged fuel cell modules that can provide power to various mobile platforms or act as stationary generators.

Packaged inside every Hydrogen Drive module is all the technology needed to produce clean energy, such as an FC stack derived from the second generation Mirai, along with air supply, hydrogen supply, cooling, and power control systems.

The modules are available in vertical and horizontal shapes with either 60- or 80-kW outputs and have a 400 to 750 V voltage range.

They are designed to work in a broad range of operating environments, ensuring safe system operation at low or high temperature, at higher altitudes, and under applications involving high vibration levels.

In conclusion, Toyota’s fuel cell technologies prove that ditching diesels in favor of green alternatives is no longer a utopian concept, and it’s now up to companies to adopt them.
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About the author: Vlad Radu
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Vlad's first car was custom coach built: an exotic he made out of wood, cardboard and a borrowed steering wheel at the age of five. Combining his previous experience in writing and car dealership years, his articles focus in depth on special cars of past and present times.
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