Toyota Project Portal Semi Wants To Drive Down Hydrogen Costs

7 days ago by Sebastian Blanco 107

Toyota Project Portal Hydrogen Fuel Cell Semi Truck

Toyota Project Portal Hydrogen Fuel Cell Semi Truck

Take the fuel cell stack in a Toyota Mirai, then take another one, string them together, and you will have enough potential power to move a semi. That’s what Toyota is proving with its new Project Portal hydrogen semi truck, which is getting official this morning at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles in California. Toyota will put one H2 semi into service this summer, with more – potentially – to come.

The Project Portal semi looks from the outside like any normal class 8 big rig, and it is ready to carry 80,000 pounds and can go 200 miles per refueling. While the fuel cell stack in the Mirai offers 153 horsepower, the two used together in the semi put out “more than 670 horsepower and 1325 pound feet of torque.” The semi also has a “relatively small” 12kWh battery. Refueling the hydrogen tank takes around 20 minutes, comparable to refueling a diesel truck.

Craig Scott (yes, that Craig Scott) told InsideEVs that Project Portal is starting at the ports because it was in Toyota’s back yard and, “It makes the problem glaringly obvious. The port is a really big problem, from an emissions point of view. We think there’s a need for it here.”

Toyota Project Portal Hydrogen Fuel Cell Semi Truck

While there are hydrogen refueling stations in Long Beach, it’s not feasible to refuel the truck there (“we would probably take the station down with the amount of hydrogen we’d use,” Scott said). That’s why Toyota is installing a temporary station down near the dock for the truck.

“One truck holds 10 times more fuel than one Mirai,” he said. “So now you’re talking about 10 trucks easily using a ton of hydrogen in a day, whereas that same volume of hydrogen would probably take a month in a car. There hasn’t been cost reduction on the molecule side fast enough.” By molecule side, Scott means the hydrogen supply, and he said that Project Portal has a complementary goal of reducing H2 refueling costs. “The price [of hydrogen] today is too expensive, and it needs to come down drastically. That can be accomplished, in large part, by pulling more hydrogen through the system, and we’ll pull a lot more hydrogen through the system a lot faster in a heavy duty environment than we would in a light-duty environment.”

In Japan, Toyota is working on larger, hydrogen-powered vehicles like passenger buses to have ready by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Project Portal, though, is a U.S.-led endeavor, Scott said. Toyota engineers here are getting some assistance from Japan as they link the two fuel cell stacks, but mostly they are moving forward on their own.

Tags: , ,

109 responses to "Toyota Project Portal Semi Wants To Drive Down Hydrogen Costs"

  1. Sparkinator says:

    Toyota, of course, does not believe in the future of Hydrogen as a transportation fuel. They just believe that if they hype it as an alternative to BEV technology it will help retard the inevitable growth of BEVs. It’s very sad that this one-time leader of the move to electric drive technology has taken such an aggressive anti-BEV stance.
    All this stems from their desperate effort to preserve their diminishing sales of hybrid vehicles which is quite obviously doomed to fail as BEV vehicles increase in range and decrease in price.

    1. BenG says:

      Fuel cells are part of the future for portable power generation. Hydrogen is tough to work with though, so I tend to thing an ethanol (or other liquid fuel) fuel cell is more likely to dominate.

      I wouldn’t trash talk Toyota too much. They’ve sold more than 9 million Priuses world-wide, each one cutting the fuel consumption and emissions in half compared to similar size ICE only car. The initial plug-in Prius sold in respectable numbers when available. The Prime is selling well.

      Toyota is still a leader in the electrification of the auto. Much of their work on the Prius and Mirai will translate directly to a BEV when they release it. I think Toyota does believe in the future of fuel cells in personal transportation, and I agree … but I don’t really believe hydrogen is the right storage molecule.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Toyota has done very well with the Prius, just like Blackberry did very well with its early smart phone.

        But both companies have allowed their first-generation tech to stagnate even as their competitors have surged ahead. It won’t be long until the Prius is as dead as the Blackberry, and for exactly the same reason.

        1. BenG says:

          I think the Prius family will be with us for quite a while. The Prime is off to a solid start.

    2. SJC says:

      You pretend to have the gift to see through all this, not likely.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Sadly for you fool cell fanboys, ignoring science, physics, and reality does not actually change reality.

        1. SJC says:

          I am not a fan of FUEL CELLS, you sound like a jack AZZ with your silly nick names.

        2. JIMJFOX says:

          Endless repetition of your mantra does not make it true, Dr Goebbels. Toyota is pushing a particular niche application where batteries are at present totally useless, if you could bring yourself to actually read it. This may or may not be successful but plaudits to them for trying.
          Research may find ways to make hydrogen more affordable & practical without contravening any Laws of Physics.
          Don’t worry, train passengers haven’t died when travelling at more than 12 mph either…

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            “Endless repetition of your mantra does not make it true…”

            The Laws of Physics and Thermodynamics don’t care if you believe them or not. And they certainly don’t need me or anyone else to cite them to “prove” they’re true.

            “This may or may not be successful but plaudits to them for trying.”

            Do you also give plaudits to those who claim to be “researchers” into “free energy” and perpetual motion? Those are no more impossible, and for the same reason: Violation of the Laws of Physics and Thermodynamics.

            “Don’t worry, train passengers haven’t died when travelling at more than 12 mph either…”


            It was “more than 20 MPH”.

            The next time you’re tempted to argue with those who know more than you do about a subject, JimFox, you should remember that famous advice:

            Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. — Abraham Lincoln

            1. JIMJFOX says:

              Do you also give plaudits to those who claim to be “researchers” into “free energy” and perpetual motion?

              Seems YOU raised this non-sequitur. Arrogant, ignorant, presumptuous abusive pillock. No offence.

              I used to think you had something to contribute.
              Yet another occasion on which I’ve been proven wrong.

              “Fully synthetic fuel would be carbon neutral, altho it would have tailpipe emissions.” B/S
              Produced how, exactly?

    3. JB says:

      Please stop that nonsense about Toyota “plotting” against EV.

      Toyota and the Japanese government really thought that fuel cells were the future of transportation and invested heavily in the technology way before EV started taking off and made FCEV a dead-end.

      Now they are just trying to mitigate the obvious losses that theR&D costs will infer.

      It is obviously not an anti-BEV stance, way more a kind of desperate move to find at least some market for their technology.

      1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

        Apparantly, the Japanese government didn’t get the memo that hydrogen and FCEVs are a dead end.

  2. John says:

    Probably a viable use for fuel cells…until batteries get significantly more energy dense and charge faster.

    Other good candidates are shipping, and other heavy equipment.

    Of course, all of this depends on the clean manufacture of Hydrogen, but I think that could be set up much like an ESS. Produce Hydrogen when there is an energy surplus and use it later.

    1. Bjorn says:

      That’s in theory a good idea, but you need high utilization to pay for the high capital cost of the electrolyzers..

      1. menorman says:

        At a ton of fuel/day/truck, it sounds like a fleet of them would certainly provide the necessary utilization.

        1. Foo says:

          If it costs more to produce pressurized hydrogen than it costs to make diesel (or gasoline for that matter), how does this ever make sense?

          1. SJC says:

            A kilogram of hydrogen in a fuel cell can go much farther than a gallon of diesel in an engine. As oil fields tap out, diesel will be much more expensive.

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              Nonsense. Biodiesel or even fully synthetic diesel would still be significantly cheaper than compressed hydrogen fuel, especially if you take into consideration the insanely high cost of building and maintaining H2 storage and dispensing systems.

              Even a tiny H2 dispensing station that can only handle about two dozen fool cell cars a day costs about $2 million to build. (Compare to a typical gas station, which costs less to build and handles an average of eleven hundred (1100) cars per day!) How much would a dispensing station for a fool cell semi tractor cost? And since H2 embrittles metals, what would the ongoing maintenance cost be? The mind boggles!

              1. SJC says:

                You create hydrogen at the fueling point using renewable power contracts.
                No transporting, no large storage unlike diesel that has dilling, transport, refining, transport and on site tank storage.

                1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                  Even if you’re willing to settle for the slow rate of on-site generation (and you’re gonna make a ton of it per day, to fuel just 10 trucks?), you still have to provide the energy to pressurize it after generation, and to re-pressurize the station’s storage tank after dispensing.

                  TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch — Robert Heinlein

      2. zzzzzzzzzz says:


        Electrolyzer and related equipment CAPEX is around $1/kg or less for 3000-6000 kg/day production. Reducing utilization to 40% would raise it to around $2/kg, which is a lot, but I wouldn’t call it large.

        See figure 26:

        If you can reduce electricity costs from e.g. average California industrial rate of 10 cnt/kWh to some 4 cnt/kWh for off grid solar tracking PV with 30% capacity factor, it would save money.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Notice how fool cell fanboys always talk about only the cost of generating hydrogen, and never about the significantly greater cumulative costs of compressing, storing, moving, storing again, re-compressing, and finally dispensing H2 fuel.

          They have a well-developed ability to ignore reality very hard. But then, they have to, to keep up the pretense that someday H2 might magically become a practical fuel.

          1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

            There are extensive scientific studies done on all the costs including dispensing. And I even linked one.

            Sure it all doesn’t matter for bright eye culties like Pu-pu, who stubbornly repeat last decade talking points like broken record, and think that “physics” is some magic incantation that is going to scare away non-believers.

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              You linked to a study which “proves” the Laws of Thermodynamics can been violated?

              No, dude… you didn’t.

              Contrariwise, here is a real article written by real physicists using real science… which shows just how impractical the idea is, for those few who haven’t already read up on the science in question:


          2. SJC says:

            Knock off the “fan boy” crap, you sound like the idiot you are.

            1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

              When is InsideEVs going to finally do something about Pushmi-Pullyu’s constant and aggressive trolling? He’s brought the comments section down to a juvenile level, and must have chased anyway many regular readers and commentors with his ceaseless trolling.

              Pu-Pu’s trolling has gotten way out of hand lately. In this very comments section multiple people he’s trolled are openly complaining about his juvenile name calling, personal attacks, and trolling.

              It’s high time for Jay to whip out his mighty ban-hammer and smote Pu-Pu once and for all. Pu-Pu always was a troll and always will be a troll. It’s who he is and what he does. He won’t ever change. 🙁

      3. SJC says:

        Production wells, tanker ships, refineries, distribution trucks and gasoline fueling station tanks are expensive.

        Electrolyzers at fueling stations with renewable power contracts are not as expensive by comparison.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Generating H2 on-site is very slow, and requires a lot of electrical power. Compressing the H2 for storage and/or dispensing takes — if I understand it — even more electricity than generation.

          The idea that the very expensive H2 generation, compression, and storage equipment could somehow be magically made cheaper than ordinary, inexpensive gas/diesel station equipment is… well, let’s just say “facepalm”.

          1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

            “if I understand it” – I didn’t get impressions from your numerous and repetitive posts that you can read and understand anything above Electrek or Teslarati level. This your post proves it again, no single number, just emotional “expert” exclamations.

            1. SJC says:

              He should be booted off of here.

              1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:


            2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              You’re the one engaging in wishful thinking and denying reality, zzzzzzzzzzz. You do this in multiple comments after every single “hydrogen economy” article here at InsideEVs. I’ve posted plenty of links to articles with plenty of facts and actual figures, for those who are interested in learning about the subject. For example, the link below covers the subject pretty thoroughly, diving into both the economics and the science.

              Denying reality does not actually change reality.


      4. JIMJFOX says:

        As you are evidently unaware, hydrolysis is NOT the only source for hydrogen.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          No, it’s just the one that fool cell fanboys like to talk about, because part of the reality they try very hard to deny is that about 95% of commercially produced hydrogen is made from reforming natural gas.

          Now did you really think I didn’t know that, or were you just flailing around trying to find an insult to distract from how you keep digging yourself further into a hole?

  3. electron says:

    awesome, the hydrogen economy is not dead yet. live long and prosper oh hydrogen fuel cell. It seems the hydrogen economy would lower the cost of collecting deuterium, and the the lithium from old batteries would be used to construct hydrogen fusion reactors, so you can make the electricity to charge all of these BEV in a clean way.

    Hydrogen fusion:
    With current technology, the reaction most readily feasible is between the nuclei of the two heavy forms (isotopes) of hydrogen – deuterium (D) and tritium (T). Each D-T fusion event releases 17.6 MeV (2.8 x 10-12 joule, compared with 200 MeV for a U-235 fission and 3-4 MeV for D-D fusion).a On a mass basis, the D-T fusion reaction releases over four times as much energy as uranium fission. Deuterium occurs naturally in seawater (30 grams per cubic metre), which makes it very abundant relative to other energy resources. Tritium occurs naturally only in trace quantities (produced by cosmic rays) and is radioactive, with a half-life of around 12 years. Usable quantities can be made in a conventional nuclear reactor, or in the present context, bred in a fusion system from lithium. Lithium is found in large quantities (30 parts per million) in the Earth’s crust and in weaker concentrations in the sea.

  4. protomech says:

    114 kW from one fuel stack, doubled up should make 228 kW.

    The remaining 272+ kW (500 kW total) must come from the 12 kWh battery; at full power this can be depleted in 2 minutes; less if it’s at an intermediate state of charge.

    If this truck goes up a long hill fully loaded then it will quickly slow to a crawl. Not that we don’t see that sometimes with diesel semis anyhow.

    1. BenG says:

      I bet they’ve bumped up the performance of the fuel cell stacks in addition to adding the battery power.

    2. SparkEV says:

      Or it could be that Mirai’s FC stack is much more capable, but limited by Mirai’s motor. 12 kWh could add maybe 120 kW at 10C, but I don’t see it doing 22C.

      1. protomech says:

        Could be. Toyota rates the Mira at 114 kW fuel cell stack output, 113 kW motor.

        Unfortunate that they didn’t build a more powerful motor in, for the price.

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “If this truck goes up a long hill fully loaded then it will quickly slow to a crawl.”

      Yes, but ignore the highly misleading pictures in the article which insinuate this project is for a long-distance freight hauler. The name “Project Portal semi” is a pretty good clue that this truck is intended only to work in ports. In other words, it’s a “yard mule” truck, not intended for highway speeds or distances.

      No problem with not being able to climb mountains or long hills if it’s just a yard mule!

      1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

        One more post from Pu-pu who can’t read but can post.
        “The company is now live-testing a short-haul, zero-emission drayage truck shuttling shipping containers between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and various freight depots up to 70 miles away.”

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            LOL! Still digging yourself into a hole, aren’t you, JimFox. zzzzzzzzz got you to believe his B.S.!

            😀 😀 😀

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Dude… I don’t know the details of this “Portal Truck” project, but I certainly do know what you quoted doesn’t appear in the article above. It also doesn’t appear in anything the article links to.

          It’s sad when you think you have to lie to support your arguments. It’s even sadder when you resort to such obvious lies.

          1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

            You’re in idiot troll Pu-Pu. Zzzzzzzzz is correct, this is a drayage truck, not a yard tractor.

            Per Toyota’s press release:
            “[Project Portal] is a fully functioning heavy duty truck with the power and torque capacity to conduct port drayage operations while emitting nothing but water vapor.”

            “dray·age (drā′ĭj)”
            “Definition – transporting goods a short distance via ground freight or the charge for such a transport. In freight forwarding, drayage is typically used to describe the trucking service from an ocean port to a rail ramp, warehouse, or other destination.”

  5. BenG says:

    Very cool project. This application is much better than for passenger vehicles, but I bet pure BEV would be a more cost effective and efficient way to go zero emissions. These port trucks probably don’t rack up high mileage and would work fine with batteries.

    Long range trucks are probably the best application for fuel cells.

    1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      There are companies making electric yard jockeys.

      You can’t do long-distance trucking without supporting infrastructure, so really yard jockey work or short, dedicated runs are really the only way to get miles on an HFCV semi.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “This application is much better than for passenger vehicles…”

      Let me fix that for you:

      This application is much better worse than for passenger vehicles…

      Freight trucking is even more sensitive to the cost of fuel than powering a passenger car. No way could compressed hydrogen fuel ever possibly compete with diesel to power heavy trucks. Not mere opinion; that’s a fact mandated by the laws of physics and basic economics.

      1. SJC says:

        Trying to be a bully, you are not good at it.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          You might try actually contributing something to the conversation. Hint: Posting factual errors and insults are not contributing.

      2. BenG says:

        Diesel will have to “pay” for it’s pollution in the future much more than it does not. So, hydrogen could become cheaper than diesel if the carbon tax (or whatever) assessed on diesel grows high enough.

  6. RedStapler says:

    Trucks in CA are limited to 80k lbs total weight. This equipment configuration can carry 42-48k of cargo depending on the weight of the Mirai-Kenworth.

  7. Roy_H says:

    “The price [of hydrogen] today is too expensive, and it needs to come down drastically”

    First time I have read this from a H2 proponent. Usually FCV auto manufacturers supply free H2 to avoid discussing price.

    There have been numerous battery break-through’s announced but no follow up. This puzzles me especially this one:
    When/if this becomes reality, the FCV will be dead.

    1. BenG says:

      The cutting edge battery research takes longer to get to get to retail sales than it seems. In reality that battery “breakthrough” you link is in all likelihood still experimental … nowhere near a commercial prototype.

    2. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      You can read about battery (or any technology) breakthroughs from 1900s.
      When you’ll spend reading 10 years or so and start to understand what this research is about, you will notice that you need many various breakthroughs to reach production level. While research breakthrough in some single step may be important for researchers, it has nothing to do with going into production next year.

      Then there are a bunch of startup type businesses that just fleece gullible investors with unrealistic promises. Wishful thinking of fanboys fills all the gaps in these promises, and you have what you have.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Breathless, wide-eyed announcements of battery tech breakthroughs are almost never followed by an actual commercial product, yet battery cells do keep incrementally improving every year. Evolution, not revolution.

        Fortunately, there is very great potential for improving batteries; some orders of magnitude improvement are possible.

        Contrariwise, despite the science-denying delusions promoted by you fool cell fanboys, it’s kinda hard to improve the basic hydrogen molecule! In fact, one might even say it’s physically impossible. 😉

        1. JIMJFOX says:

          It appears the limitations of battery design are chemical, not “the laws of physics”.
          Perhaps you might learn something here?

          “The search for the best battery design – in terms of safety and capacity – continues, with developments in lithium-ion cells and alternative technologies. But as our demand for more power grows in both the mobile device arena and electric vehicles, it may be that we see more of the type of problems experienced by some Samsung Galaxy Note 7 users. ‘People are close to the margins of what is practical to build now,’ says Bill ‘and that’s when safety risks can increase’. But finding new, safer battery chemistries with good energy capacity ‘is going to be a long hard road’, he concludes.”

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            “It appears the limitations of battery design are chemical, not ‘the laws of physics’.”

            Try looking up the word “physics”. Clearly you don’t know what it means.

            “Perhaps you might learn something here?”

            Perhaps, but pretty obviously I’m in no danger of that from your direction.

      2. Djoni says:

        And didn’t you provide many breakthroughs in hydrogen production that was supposed to be awesome in cost reduction benefit.
        So far we’re still waiting.
        Nothing is easy man, nothing.
        It might just ever be more difficult with the hydrogen mirage, because it seems to always disappearing further away.

        1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

          The price of H2 at Air Products network of California H2 stations has fallen from $15/$16 to $10 due to several recent advancements in fueling station technology and in distribution, and due to a greater volume of vehicles now using the stations.


          1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

            Below is a re-post of a comment I made in another thread regarding the present and future price of hydrogen.

            I think you’re way, way overestimating the future cost of H2. Making H2 is relatively inexpensive. Most of the cost of H2 is from the stations and from transporting it, both of which will drop dramatically in the next few years as the technology matures and volumes/scale increase.

            The founder of the TrueZero (H2 fueling network with 17 stations and 2 more under construction) had this to say about the current and future cost of H2:
            “The biggest factor is actually scale. So today, to produce the raw hydrogen is actually very inexpensive. It’s probably half or less than half the cost of gasoline. Really where the cost is, is in the new methods of transporting it, the stations themselves. We’re investing a lot in new equipment, and we’re not at the volumes or at the, you know, the technology maturity where it can get cheap. But we’re actually expecting to see hydrogen competitive within gasoline in next 2 or 3 years. Within 5 to 10 years it will probably get lower if not half that of gasoline.”

            TrueZero founder @5:50 into the video:

            An Ohio county with H2 buses is currently paying about $4.63 a kilogram for liquid H2, which is shipped 276 miles from Sarnia, Ontario to Canton, OH. It’s $1.9 million fueling station can dispense 400 kilograms of H2 per day, and has a capacity to expand (probably at a lower cost than building the original station). The higher the volume of H2 dispensed, the lower the cost of amortization per kg dispensed. Assuming that the $1.9 million, 400 kg/day H2 fueling station has a 15-year useful life, the amortized cost of the station would add $0.87 to the price of each kg of H2 dispensed, while a 10-year life would add just $1.30/kg to the cost of H2. (400 kg x 365 days x 15 years = 2,190,000 kg, $1,900,000 ÷ 2,190,000 = $0.86/kg)(400 kg x 365 days x 10 years = 1,460,000 kg, $1,900,000 ÷ 1,460,000 = $1.30/kg)

            1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

              “Most of the cost of H2 is from the stations and from transporting it, both of which will drop dramatically in the next few years as the technology matures and volumes/scale increase.”

              Magical thinking. In this case, literally: It would require magic to do that.

  8. SparkEV says:

    “Refueling the hydrogen tank takes around 20 minutes”

    I wonder how long it’d take for battery swap for something like this. It’s probably lot less than 20 minutes. Off-line charging can be used to smooth out the electrical grid, taking advantage of the cheapest rate (ie, mid-day when electricity is supposedly “free” due to over production).

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      (Project) better place’s battery swap stations accomplished the swap in about 3 minutes. Of course the truck would need a much larger and heavier battery, and the handling mechanism would have to be larger and stronger, but I see no mechanical reason why battery swapping would have to be much slower for a larger pack.

      Keep in mind the swap mechanism is complex and quite expensive, altho with mass production we could expect the price to come down substantially.

  9. AlphaEdge says:

    > There have been numerous battery break-through’s announced but no follow up.

    You must be new to reading about battery technology break-through’s. That’s been standard fare for the last 20 years or more, and I have yet to see one make it to production.

    1. AlphaEdge says:

      What is with the comment section, I hit reply to Roy_H’s post, and it ends up at the bottom. Second time in two days this has happened.

      1. ffbj says:

        Nothing. Look at the time stamps. Replies to earlier comments come first, even if they post after your comment, since they were in response to an earlier posted comment.

        1. AlphaEdge says:

          But my response is not threaded under his.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “You must be new to reading about battery technology break-through’s. That’s been standard fare for the last 20 years or more, and I have yet to see one make it to production.”

      Since I’ve been following battery tech, starting circa 2009 on TheEEStory forum, I think there has been only one significant battery breakthrough applicable to EV batteries which has been commercialized: LG Chem’s new, lower-cost li-ion batteries, which probably represent the improved form of NMC batteries which Envia tried, but failed, to make.

      Only one over the course of several years in which we saw breathless announcements of laboratory breakthrus and/or demos, about one every two weeks on average. An extremely poor batting average indeed!

      So yes, it’s best to be highly skeptical of any announcement about breakthru EV battery tech.

  10. stimpy says:

    I’d love to see a TCO analysis on this that covers:
    1) Cost of a hydrogen fill vs electricity/diesel
    2) Expiration date of fuel cell (Mirai stack expires in 14 years!)

  11. Get Real says:

    Coyota is absolutely flailing here.

    Because of the unchanging physics, H2 is simply not competitive compared to using the electricity straight into batteries and here they have admitted that the H2 fuel is very expensive to make, compress and cool and transport.

    I.e, H2 must be heavily subsidized in order for it to compete economically and since I don’t see the Big Oil companies out building the infrastructure I think its safe to assume that nobody is going to subsidize it unless they bribe politicians to do it on the public’s dime.

    So basically it’s DOA outside of heavy subsidies.

    Now I do believe it might eventually find some use cases for longer term storage of renewables for energy for static power generation and it could also work for maritime shipping but in both cases its still going to be very expensive due to the physics.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        JimFox, apparently you need a remedial introductory course in very basic science. Even an elementary student should understand the fundamentals of science better than this.

        Physics is also called “the fundamental science” because the subject of study of all branches of natural science like chemistry, astronomy, geology, and biology are constrained by laws of physics, similar to how chemistry is often called the central science because of its role in linking the physical sciences.

  12. menorman says:

    “The Project Portal semi looks from the outside like any normal class 8 big rig, and it is ready to carry 80,000 pounds and can go 200 miles per refueling.”

    But people were complaining that the Tesla Semi might not have enough range?

    1. BenG says:

      200 miles with 20 minute full refill is workable.

      How long will it take for full refill of a Tesla Semi? Tesla is going to have to introduce a new charging standard to get charge time down to remotely practical levels.

      1. SparkEV says:

        Battery swap could take much less than 20 minutes, maybe even 5 minutes.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “…people were complaining that the Tesla Semi might not have enough range?”

      People were discussing the limits of current battery tech, which will probably prevent Tesla’s BEV semi from having the range sufficient for long-distance trucking.

      But this Toyota “Project Portal Semi” is probably intended to be only a “yard mule” truck, used at ports or “portals”, which means 200 miles would be far more distance than it will ever drive in a day.

      The pictures accompanying this article are probably very misleading. Yard mule trucks are not streamlined, because they never travel at highway speed.

  13. Scott Franco says:

    There competing against CNG trucks, and thus the fuel costs are a matter. The logistics are identical. CNG stored at high pressure in an onboard tank vs H2 in a high pressure tank. The H2 comes from reformed NG, the pollution (which is far smaller than diesel in any case) is either produced in the truck or in the reformer.

    But then the comparison goes downhill for FCV trucks. Extra cost to reform H2. Either the need to produce from NG at the terminal or transport it via special lines or trucks. NG is piped virtually everywhere and can be loaded into a CNG truck by a compressor at the station.

    I’d love to see trucks go to FCV as an intermediate step to full electric. Trucks need range and rapid refueling. I just don’t think it stacks up against CNG in either the short or long run.

    1. BenG says:

      CNG has a big benefit of lower pressure storage compared to hydrogen, CNG being naturally much more energy dense.

      If they used a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC), then they could “burn” CNG in it. Can also use ethanol with a simple reformer.

      SOFC hybrid is probably the future of long range trucking.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) uses much lower pressure, something like the propane bottles used to fuel an outdoor gas grill. That type of storage is still pretty cheap and easy to handle, especially as compared to storing and dispensing H2 at 10,000 PSI (or even 5000 PSI). The latter requires special high-pressure pumps and seals, and even then it leaks constantly.

        CNG doesn’t embrittle metals that it’s stored in, either… another advantage over H2.

    2. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      CNG is better than diesel and works fine in fleets right now, but FC has lower fuel consumption and zero tailpipe emissions. As solar PV and wind electricity costs go down and may get on par or lower than natural gas price off peak, it would be just extra step converting H2 to methane for burning in ICE.

      You can do hydrocarbon reforming to H2 on board using SOFC, but it costs extra, needs higher temperatures and so it is a bit dubious if it can be used in ground transport. Ships would be more suitable application for SOFC.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “You can do hydrocarbon reforming to H2 on board using SOFC, but it costs extra, needs higher temperatures and so it is a bit dubious…”

        Dubious or not with today’s tech, it’s at least possible that someday we could see widespread use of that, as opposed to trying to use highly compressed hydrogen gas, which can’t possibly ever be widely used, despite all your science-denying delusions.

        1. zzzzzzzzzz says:


          It is funny when science-denying fanboys like Pu-pu use “science” and “physics” like incantations 😉 Did you read a single academic study on the subject? Maybe more than one? Why do they all do not agree with your fanboyism, is it some conspiracy or what?

          1. JIMJFOX says:

            Battery Boy is blind to ANYTHING challenging his immutable view of his universe, not willing to read any links, consider any future possibilities, etc.
            He is also turning this site into a typical low-brow, abusive “I’m the only intelligent person here, you are all dimwits”.

            I don’t want to see this happening so BB is the first & only person I will ignore …
            “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”
            Bertrand Russell

          2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            They all do agree. That is, the real studies — not the propaganda pieces funded by Big Oil — all do agree that the “hydrogen economy” will never happen, due to the Laws of Physics, Thermodynamics, and basic economics. As I’ve said, compressed hydrogen is very nearly the worst possible choice for an everyday fuel. That’s never going to change, because you can’t change the physical properties.

            Plenty of real studies and authoritative reports out there, for those who bother to look.

            Here’s a quote from someone who has hands-on experience with trying to develop the tech:

            When I helped oversee the hydrogen and fuel cell and alternative vehicle programs at the Energy Departments Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in the 1990s, I was a big supporter of hydrogen and transportation fuel cell vehicle (FCV) programs, helping to boost the funding for those programs substantially. But the FCV research did not pan out as expected — some key technologies proved impractical and others remained stubbornly expensive.

            So as I researched my 2004 book, “The Hype About Hydrogen: Fact and Fiction in the Race to Save the Climate” — named one of the best science and technology books of 2004 by Library Journal — my view on both the green-ness of hydrogen cars and their practicality changed.

            As I detailed at length in 2009 when President Obama and Energy Secretary Chu wisely tried to kill the program, “Hydrogen fuel cell cars are a dead end from a technological, practical, and climate perspective.”

            Full article:


  14. Big Solar says:

    12 KWh? couldnt this thing make 12 KWh going down hill for a quarter mile or so at a medium grade? (especially loaded)? Put a bigger battery in!

  15. floydboy says:

    Hi, Trojan Man!…….Huh?…..OH!…HY-DRO-GEN MAN!

    1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

      Let’s just hope that those hydrogen tanks in the Toyota semi-truck don’t leak or bust as often or easily as a Trojan condom. A warning label won’t help much. 😀

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        The Mirai already comes with a warning label: The “DO NOT REFILL AFTER…” expiration date for the fuel cell system.

        Fortunately, plug-in EVs don’t need any such expiration date. 🙂

        1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

          Typical Li Ion battery electrolyte additives don’t last more than 10 years. At that time it becomes highly corrosive. It is called “calendar life”.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            You know that FUD is true because you read it once in a Tesla bashing post, right?


            My understanding is that li-ion electrolyte is mildly corrosive… but probably not much moreso than Coca-Cola, and no more so after 10 years or even 20 or 50. Certainly not as corrosive as lead-acid battery electrolyte!

            You might need to wash your hands after handling it, but it’s not going to give you chemical burns.

  16. agzand says:

    I am surprised that they can make it work with 2 FC stacks only. Anyhow it shows the potential of FCs for heavy duty transportation. As usual anything non Tesla doesn’t make sense to fanboys, but in reality this has much higher chance of taking off than a fully electric semi.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      You didn’t actually read the article, did you?

      This fool cell semi truck, even one apparently restricted to low speed, short distance “yard mule” work, would need a H2 refueling station an order or two of magnitude larger than any existing hydrogen fueling station, if it was actually going to be used on a daily basis.

      In other words: This is a concept vehicle only, and never will be used for anything more than demonstrations.

      1. agzand says:

        How is that different than a diesel semi? It needs 10x fuel as a car, but many gas stations can still service them. The fact that currently there is little demand for hydrogen doesn’t mean it cannot be scaled up like diesel.

        What about a BEV semi? It will need a huuuuuuge charging station. How much space we need to charge 10 trucks at the same time?

  17. krona2k says:

    Tesla announce their BEV truck.

    Not much later Toyota announce a fuel cell truck. Coincidence?

    1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

      Put down the crack pipe, and stop drinking the Tesla Kool-Aide. 😉

      Toyota announced their fuel cell semi-truck 3 months ago, and rolled out a working model today that will be put into use maybe as soon as tomorrow.

      Last week Elon tweeted that a Telsa will “unveil” EV semi-truck in September, and who knows how long it will take Tesla to roll out a working model that can be put to use.

      Just as GM’s Bolt beat Tesla’s Model 3 to market by 7 to 12 months, Toyota’s hydrogen semi-truck beat Tesla’s EV semi-truck by at least 5 months, but probably much, much longer, like maybe a year or so.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Like two bald men arguing over a comb.

        Neither Toyota’s H2-powered fool cell semi tractor, nor Tesla’s BEV semi tractor, has any realistic possibility of becoming a production vehicle.

        I don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that both will be only concept vehicles.

        1. Roy_H says:

          Elon is all about putting his ideas into production. Usually years later than his optimistic projections, but still he gets the job done.

          The September announcement will probably come in November or December and the actual production trucks 2024? I for one am eagerly awaiting to see what they have come up with to make these trucks viable.

          All bets are off if the Tesla shareholders that are trying to gain control of the company succeed. They will immediately cease R&D, slow expansion, and focus on profits and dividends.

    2. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      Toyota was working on trucks last year already.
      Their buses made with the same Hino subsidiary are already on streets in Tokyo.

  18. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    From the article:

    One truck holds 10 times more fuel than one Mirai,” he said. “So now you’re talking about 10 trucks easily using a ton of hydrogen in a day, whereas that same volume of hydrogen would probably take a month in a car. There hasn’t been cost reduction on the molecule side fast enough.”

    The level at which reality is simply being ignored here is worthy of The Donald. Seriously!

    I’m still waiting for fool cell fanboys to explain, to those of us who do have some familiarity with basic physics and the Laws of Thermodynamics, just what magic they plan to use to change the properties of the hydrogen molecule.

    Let’s review the properties of a practical fuel, one that’s easy to handle, one that can be easily stored and dispensed using cheap equipment:

    1. Liquid at standard atmospheric pressure.

    2. Liquid at a wide range of temperatures, from well below freezing to above the outside temperature on a very hot day.

    3. Able to be stored easily, and remaining stable while stored, using standard mild steel tanks.

    4. Able to be dispensed easily using standard pumps or even a hand pump when necessary.

    5. Remaining stable and not “going bad” even if left unused for months.

    6. Able to be transported cheaply using existing oil and gas pipelines.

    * * * * *

    We do have such fuels, of course; gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and other petroleum fractional distillates.

    Hydrogen has absolutely none of these qualities! Not only does hydrogen storage require very high pressure, making it unsuitable to be stored or transported using existing tanks and pipelines, it actually embrittles, over time, metals that it stays in contact with! (Making metals brittle is why the Mirai has a “DO NOT REFILL AFTER…” expiration date.)

    Hydrogen is very nearly the worst possible choice for an everyday transportation fuel.

    The idea that somehow H2 is going to become the “fuel of the future” is a rainbows-and-unicorns fantasy, and every bit as likely as perpetual motion to become reality.

    1. AlphaEdge says:


      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Fully synthetic fuel would be carbon neutral, altho it would have tailpipe emissions.

        1. AlphaEdge says:

          Why do we support EV’s if diesel is ever a consideration!

        2. BenG says:

          I agree that syn-fuel or bio-fuel liquid fuels will be an important prong of our transition to a low-carbon economy. Run it through a fuel cell for better efficiency and lower emissions than from a gas or diesel engine.

          Pair a SOFC with a sizable battery to overcome the slow start-up of the SOFC.

  19. Martin Winlow says:

    If they can’t make it work for cars, what the heck chance have they got making it work for semis?

    1. BenG says:

      It works, it just has a hell of a lot of obstacles to overcome. This particular niche: drayage hauls from the port to other ports, warehouses and hubs within a 75 mile radius or thereabouts is a good place to test a prototype.

Leave a Reply