Toyota, Port of Long Beach Go Green With ‘Tri-gen’ Biogas-to-H2 Production System

Sept. 8, 2023
Long Beach will be Toyota’s first port-based vehicle processing facility that’s completely powered by on-site renewable energy.

Toyota’s Port of Long Beach operations are getting greener thanks to the launch of FuelCell Energy’s Tri-gen production system.

A first-of-its-kind, according to the companies, Tri-gen uses an electrochemical, combustion-free process to convert directed renewable biogas into electricity, hydrogen and usable water. Toyota and FuelCell Energy announced completion of the project this week.

The conversion emits virtually no pollutants and is expected to reduce Toyota’s carbon dioxide emissions by more than 9,000 tons and help avoid six tons of NOx emissions, according to a statement from FuelCell Energy, a global manufacturer of fuel cell technology platforms.

Thanks to the Tri-gen system, the Port of Long Beach will be Toyota’s first port-based vehicle processing facility that’s completely powered by on-site renewable energy. The port itself, one of the world's busiest, is going through a number of decarbonization moves as it charts a path for net zero emissions.

"By utilizing only renewable hydrogen and electricity production, TLS Long Beach will blaze a trail for our company," said Chris Reynolds, chief administrative officer at Toyota.

One system, three powerful resources

Toyota Logistic Services (TLS) moves 200,000 new Toyota and Lexus vehicles through the Port of Long Beach each year.

The Tri-gen system will support TLS operations by producing 2.3-MW of renewable electricity. Any electricity not used by TLS will be delivered to Southern California Edison, where it will be used to support the local power grid.

Tri-gen will also deliver 1,299 kg of hydrogen per day, potentially reducing TLS’ diesel consumption by more than 42,000 gallons a year. Toyota will use the hydrogen to power its light-duty fuel cell electric vehicles, as well as supply a heavy-duty hydrogen refueling station that is used by the company’s logistics and drayage operations.

Finally, Tri-gen will allow TLS to reduce its demand on the local water supply by nearly half a million gallons each year. As part of the hydrogen production process, 1,400 gallons of water will be produced per day and will be used to wash arriving vehicles before they are delivered to the customer.

“Toyota is making a powerful statement that hydrogen-based energy is good for business, local communities and the environment,” said Jason Few, CEO of FuelCell Energy.

An example of how to scale hydrogen-powered fuel cell technology

"We now have a world-class facility that will help Toyota achieve its carbon reduction efforts, and the great news is this real-world example can be duplicated in many parts of the globe," Reynolds added.

The Tri-gen system is owned and operated by FuelCell Energy and will support Toyota’s Port of Long Beach operations under a 20-year purchase agreement.

This is not the only renewable energy project underway at the Port of Long Beach, which is one of the busiest ports in the world.

Schneider Electric is also working on a $12.2 million microgrid project there.

"The renewable hydrogen generated by the Tri-gen system that Toyota commissioned, and similar projects, is part of our multistrategy approach to help fuel the transition of equipment like locomotives, harbor craft, cargo-handling equipment and trucks to zero emissions," said Mario Cordero, CEO of the Port of Long Beach.

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About the Author

Kathy Hitchens | Special Projects Editor

I work as a writer and special projects editor for Microgrid Knowledge. I have over 30 years of writing experience, working with a variety of companies in the renewable energy, electric vehicle and utility sector, as well as those in the entertainment, education, and financial industries. I have a BFA in Media Arts from the University of Arizona and a MBA from the University of Denver.

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