Toyota Envisions Mobile Hydrogen Fueling Stations

SEP 24 2015 BY MARK KANE 89

Toyota Mirai

Toyota Mirai

Toyota, with partners, intends to launch a four-year project with mobile hydrogen fueling stations in Japan – near the cities of Yokohama and Kawasaki in the Keihin coastal region.

Hydrogen will be produced using renewable wind energy and water electrolyzer.

One of the goal of this feasibility study is to achieve carbon-neutral hydrogen supply chain. Implementation is set to begin from April 2016 onward.

The weak point is of course efficiency of the process and added infrastructure costs compared to the electricity grid, which could nearly directly feed energy to electric forklifts.

“Hydrogen has the potential to permanently change the way we generate and use power. It can be created using renewable energy sources, stored, transported, and used at a later point―all with minimal environmental burden.

While hydrogen is most commonly created through a reaction between methane and steam, it can also be created from water through electrolysis. More often than not, this requires electricity―which is still typically produced using fossil-fuel-burning power plants. Since the overall environmental benefit of hydrogen is only as strong as the method used to produce it, global research initiatives around the world are dedicated to developing large-scale carbon-neutral projects that use renewable energy to power hydrogen production.

Under this trial project, wind power will be used to turn water into oxygen and hydrogen, with the latter stored for use locally. Grid power will only be used for backup when absolutely necessary and excess renewable energy produced may even be sold to utility companies.

As plans currently stand, the project will involve

  • A system to produce hydrogen by electrolyzing water using wind power
  • A system to optimize storage and transportation of hydrogen produced
  • Use of fuel cell forklifts
  • A hydrogen supply chain feasibility study (hydrogen price, CO2 reduction, etc.)

On the public sector side, the project is being implemented by the Kanagawa Prefectural Government, Yokohama City, and Kawasaki City. The four private sector participants are Iwatani Corporation, Toshiba Corporation, Toyota Motor Corporation, and Toyota Turbine and Systems Inc. In addition, the project will be supported by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment.”

Oh, and by the way, Toyota recently presented Mirai in London:

Categories: Toyota

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89 Comments on "Toyota Envisions Mobile Hydrogen Fueling Stations"

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I find it odd to describe a tanker truck carrying hydrogen, which comes to various businesses to fill the fuel tanks on their forklifts, as a “mobile fueling station”. It is not, by any stretch of the term, a “station”.

Now, there are actual mobile fueling “stations”, if that’s the right word — a mobile “station” is an oxymoron — which actually do service passenger cars. I question the utility of those, because that means the driver has to go to the location while the truck is actually there. If there is enough demand in an area for a fueling station, then it should actually be a station. “Station” as in stationary, as in a fixed permanent installation.

But it’s silly to describe a mere fuel tanker truck as a “station”. When I was working on my grandpa’s farm and the local propane vendor came out to fill out propane tank using a tanker truck, nobody ever thought of the truck as a “station”.

More on mobile hydrogen fueling stations which service “fool cell” cars:

Must… keep… selling… molecules.. at all cost… ;oP The market will take care of this.

The market will take care of this indeed. I think Toyota is FINALLY learning that the hard way with the very weak interest in their Mirai despite it costing less than any currently available Tesla Model S.

And that’s what they want to do. Never mind that the process for getting those molecules out of the ground and into your vehicle is dirty and wasteful.

They’ve lost their minds.

The people at Toyota are getting kookier by the week.

They’ll be wrapping up their 4 year study when all of us have been happily driving our Model 3 Teslas for a year.

I’m surprised institutional investors aren’t dumping all their Toyota stock.

Toyota, I fixed it for you.
You’re welcome.


I really can’t believe all this and wonder how long they’re going to keep this joke going.

How long have you got?


It’s baffling. They even have a battery storage bank. Just add more battery storage banks! Then your fuel travels almost at the speed of light to where you need it.

You’ve got to remove the hydrogen forklifts too, or add a natural gas hydrogen generator in which is the real way hydrogen will be generated in any significant quantity for the foreseeable future.


Cutting out the “middle man” is usually the best approach.

Excellent kdawg!!!



And in the long run, made it cleaner and more efficient.

LMAO. Nailed it!

No fair. You are using the “Toyota Way” (Kaizen) of eliminating unnecessary steps in any process to make absolute fools of them

What’s wrong with battery forklifts? They can be plugged in to charge after each shift.

Great, lets make it even more inefficient.

Perhaps they could add a few extra steps:

1) Use the hydrogen in a fool cell to generate electricity
2) Use the electricity to electrolyze water to hydrogen and oxygen

Steps one and two can be repeated as many times as necessary to get to the desired level of inefficiency.

Maybe there could be a few steps were they change the hydrogen back to electricity and then back to hydrogen.

John: an hour later and I’m still grinning, good post!

That is, indeed, one of the best snarky posts I’ve ever seen, anywhere, anytime.

🙂 🙂 🙂

@kdawg said: ” Toyota, I fixed it for you…”
Lol…very good!

Mobile Hydrogen Truck Fuel Stations?…wow…sounds safe…not

I’ve been known to support H2 in some cases.

This sure isn’t one.

Great chart kdawg!!

Toyota has just ensured we’ll be using natural gas made hydrogen for at least 4.5 more years while they “investigate” the feasibility of making it using renewable energy. In 4.5 years, they’ll either say natural gas was better after all, or that they need another 4 year study.

Combustion forklifts make no sense, given the exhaust in confined spaces. So, in this matter, you are off-base.

He is talking about natural gas used to make hydrogen instead of electrolysis.

Mobile Traveling Targets, Maybe?

Maybe it’s so it is harder to plan a Terrorist Attack on them?

Can’t seem to find any other use for these, except – to deliver fuel to Mirai owners stranded due to unserviceable H2 ‘Stations’ (the Stationary ones!)

Clearly there is a mole inside toyota, and hes making this stuff up 100% ftw TESLA

Forklifts are one of the areas that makes sense to use fuel cells. Simply put, there are cost savings for fleets over 40 forklifts.

Many warehouses are 3 shift operations and do not want to waste time to take a forklift out of commission to charge or to swap batteries (20 minutes). Labor for battery swaps add up quickly and reduces production of the plant. Battery life in forklifts is 3 years vs. 10 for a fuel cell. Forklift batteries do not provide constant voltage over a shift (voltage sag), fuel cells do.

BMW. Walmart, Sysco, and Nissan are using them on a large scale.

These businesses have found that hydrogen fuel cell forklifts make business sense. I encourage other posters to keep an open mind.

They have to keep all of the refueling equipment outside because of the danger of a fuel leak. I can see all of that stuff being ripped out and replaced with batteries in a few years when the problems of embrittlement start showing their head.

“They have to keep all of the refueling equipment outside because of the danger of a fuel leak.”

That’s complete bullsh*t. Stop making stuff up and spreading FUD. Simple hydrogen detectors can detect H2 fuel leaks when the H2 refueling equipment is located indoors. This is a video of a hydrogen forklift filling up at an indoor hydrogen fueling station.

I am absolutely stunned that anyone would set up an indoor hydrogen fueling station. That’s possibly even less safe than an indoor gas station! At least the gas storage tanks and the seals in the gas pumps don’t usually leak.

sven said:

“Simple hydrogen detectors can detect H2 fuel leaks when the H2 refueling equipment is located indoors.”

Then presumably these detectors, if they actually exist, would be going off constantly, since it’s impossible to set up a hydrogen storage system which doesn’t leak.

Fukushima provided us with a great display of the power of indoor hydrogen generation.

“Then presumably these detectors, if they actually exist. . .”

If they actually exist? Really? Would I lie to you Pushmi-Pullyu? Here’s a pic of a hydrogen detector/sensor found inside the Hyundai Tuscon FCV.

“. . . would be going off constantly, since it’s impossible to set up a hydrogen storage system which doesn’t leak.”

I haven’t heard about the hydrogen sensors in the Hyundai Tuscon FCVs “going off constantly” or going off at all.

Exactly how much hydrogen leaks out of the Hyundai and Toyota hydrogen tanks? A couple of molecules a week? A liter of hydrogen a week? The entire contents of the tank in a day? Links to back up your assertions would be greatly appreciated. 😀

The use of hydrogen in forklifts, to my way of thinking, is a reasonable use. It’s effective and currently in use.
Moving to passenger vehicles is another kettle of fish.

sven said: “If they actually exist? Really? Would I lie to you Pushmi-Pullyu?” I doubt it, but both of us have been known to occasionally commit errors of fact in posts here. I remember quite well a story about NASA engineers who had to look for burning hydrogen escaping from a rocket fuel tank, and the way that they had to look for it was by walking around holding a piece of cardboard in front of them. You see, since hydrogen is an invisible gas, you can’t see the flame, so what they had to look for was when the cardboard started charring… Now, if there really are hydrogen detectors which are actually practical and reliable, then why did NASA engineers not have access to them? Possibly they are a technology developed in the last few decades. “I haven’t heard about the hydrogen sensors in the Hyundai Tuscon FCVs ‘going off constantly’ or going off at all.” “Exactly how much hydrogen leaks out of the Hyundai and Toyota hydrogen tanks? A couple of molecules a week? A liter of hydrogen a week? The entire contents of the tank in a day?” Surely you know that H2 will slowly leak thru… Read more »
It seems like the NASA scientists could have used an infrared camera to easily find the leak/fire. So you’re telling me compressed hydrogen is extremely dangerous, yet when compressed hydrogen is not only leaking out of a giant rocket fuel tank, but also on fire, NASA didn’t evacuate the building and call in the fire department or haz-mat teams? Instead, the scientists themselves thought it was safe enough to walk around the rocket looking for the burning hydrogen leak with no protection except a piece of cardboard to detect and warn them of the leak/fire. So much for compressed hydrogen being extremely dangerous. You said hydrogen will leak through the metal walls of a tank. But the Marai’s tanks are not made of metal; they have a polymer lined layer, wrapped in carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer layer within a glass-fiber-reinforced polymer layer. Toyota specifically says on its Mirai webpage: “OUR TANKS ARE DESIGNED NOT TO LEAK.” You claim that “leakage at seals will be far greater,” and hydrogen “molecules are so small they will leak right past virtually any seal.” That is flat out wrong/incorrect. The Mirai’s gas valve is engineered to eliminate hydrogen leakage. Jtekt engineered the hydrogen gas valve… Read more »

sven said:

“So you’re telling me compressed hydrogen is extremely dangerous…”

Nope. In fact, I’ve responded several times to those claiming it was, pointing out their errors.

“You claim that ‘leakage at seals will be far greater,’ and hydrogen ‘molecules are so small they will leak right past virtually any seal.’ That is flat out wrong/incorrect.” If you claim it’s incorrect, sven, then you’re showing the limitations of your understanding of science. Hydrogen atoms are composed of only one electron and one proton, and hydrogen atoms are most commonly formed of only two atoms. So that’s why they are so tiny that they will indeed leak past any seal. Period. If you understood that, then you would also understand that some company saying they have some sort of special seals which will solve the problem is nothing but advertising hype. Sure, special seals can reduce the hydrogen leakage. But it’s physically impossible to stop it. The question isn’t whether or not any tank containing pressurized hydrogen will leak. The question is how fast it will leak. “You said hydrogen will leak through the metal walls of a tank. But the Marai’s tanks are not made of metal; they have a polymer lined layer, wrapped in carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer layer within a glass-fiber-reinforced polymer layer. Toyota specifically says on its Mirai webpage: ‘OUR TANKS ARE DESIGNED NOT TO LEAK.'”… Read more »

“So that’s why they are so tiny that they will indeed leak past any seal. Period.”

Hydrogen valve makers respectfully disagree! They’re already making zero-leakage valves for hydrogen service.

“For valve makers, this has increased demand for specialty materials, treatment procedures and zero-leakage performance.”

“These characteristics make zero leakage a necessity.”

“Leakage at the seat. . . . The metal-to-metal design provides a durable, high-temperature seal, thus ensuring a leak-proof seal.”

“Precision-machined valve interface ensures leak free operation.”

Sven and Taser54:

Thanks for the links you guys provide, which I thoroughly peruse. but this Pupu guy is not your normal commenter. Most people would stand back and try to learn things (as I do, since it is not a field I’m particularly expert in). But as Modern Marvel Fan says, he just blabs about stuff he has zero familiarity with, and then when you call him on it, he brings up some old bromide to make himself seem self-important.

As far as ‘leaks’ are concerned, anything that can withstand 100,000 fatigue cycles, and/or has carefully machined surfaces such that the leak rate is either truly zero, or else has a ‘low’ leak rate of one tank full per year, is adequately safe for automotive service.

SO, thanks for the education you are providing me. My ‘Lay’ viewpoint is that stationary fuel-cells seem to make sense, but mobile fuel cells are too convoluted to compete with EVs in any place with relatively cheap electricity.

Considering that these companies have been doing this for 5 years on a fleetwide basis, you are obviously wrong.

Seriously, that’s your argument? If some idiot set up an indoor gas station, and there wasn’t any fire in five years of operation, would you then claim it must be completely safe?

Hey, those emergency generators for powering cooling systems in Japanese nuclear power plants when the grid power fails, it must be safe to have them in the basement of the power plant, because they used those for decades without any problems. Right?

Ok, since gasoline and a kg of hydrogen are roughtly the equivalent cost at 9.093 dollars per kg, and assuming that the fuel cell motor combo is twice as efficient as a fork lift engine, that works out to about $4.54 a gallon which isn’t too high a price to pay for the convenience of a quiet fork lift.

In less severe service though, I’d think a rechargable electric forklift would have lower operationg cost, and be less costly in its first-cost.

Since when does it take 20 minutes to swap batteries?

Hey if you are ignorant of what it takes to change the lead-acid forklift batteries, ain’t my problem.

How hard can it be… with FORKLIFTS available?


Setting up a hydrogen fuel station to service a fleet of forklifts makes sense. Setting up a hydrogen fuel station to service a fleet of cars that always return to the same place may even make sense if the cars can’t be left overnight to recharge. Setting up as many hydrogen fueling stations as there currently are petrol fueling stations so that every car can run on hydrogen is batshit crazy.

Sounds like we need a Tesla forklift truck then. Our plant has a couple gas forklifts and a couple electric ones. They use the electric ones during the day and plug them in at night.

Forklift operators wouldn’t too happy about having to make an appointment to get their Tesla battery pack swapped. 😉

Does the “mobile hydrogen fueling station” also run on hydrogen? If yes, how much hydrogen is left after it delivers its payload? If no, and it runs on diesel, what have we really saved here?

What have we saved? Face. We’ve saved face by trying to find SOME rational reason for using hydrogen.

There IS an explanation – Toyota’s been recruiting engineers from the following contest:


Mirai’s best commercial. (Yay!no explosions!)

It needs more cowbell.

Let alone the other factual arguments against this imbecile hydrogen “solution” (just another effort of big oil +shills to keep millions of customers dependent) : LOW efficiency (extra loses on generation storing transport)RISK of explosion/leaking, cost, membrane life (see Mirai’s warning on the fuel cap) etc, so apart from all these and COST (Mirai is a big time money loser excluding CARBs credits ) one other argument:

transporting the fuel

So instead of transporting the fuel at close to lightspeed (as phillip d said) we will transporting it by truck. 300.000 km/s vs say 80 km/h for a truck (average is probably lower) is a factor of 13.500.000. :-))
They might as well transporting hydrogen at snail speed it won’t make much difference.

Simply idiotic logically. Of course makes sense financially for the exxons+toyotas.

PS “Snails and slugs travel at speeds that vary from slow (0.013 m/s) to very slow (0.0028 m/s).”

It makes me wonder if there isn’t something more cultural, motivating Japanese corporations to invent any reason to utilize ineffecient and dangerous hydrogen as an energy carrier, instead of just putting renuable electricity in batteries.

The Atomic ( Hydrogen ) Bomb.

Hear me out. Buried deep within the collective unconscious, are the horrific stories and guilt in every survivor who crawled out of the two atomic nightmares unleashed upon them.

Today, the idea of harnessing, nay, MASTERING the use of Hydrogen for positive societal uses, despite (willfully ignoring) its difficult physical nature and inherent inefficiencies, has been a long time cultural dream. It is one facet of a long healing process the country has gone thru since the end of WW2.

This is why rational discussion and even the cold hard truths of Science and why hydrogen sucks as a “fuel”, won’t dissuade companies like Toyota from achieving their idyllic hydrogen goals.

Far-fetched yet very probable…what other explanation is there? The Japonese are not idiots so it has to be a deep rooted reason that transcends logic.

The atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan at the end of WW2 were regular nuclear fission bombs using uranium and plutonium.

It wasn’t until after WW2 and the beginning of the cold war when the thermonuclear hydrogen bomb was born which used a uranium detonator resulting in hydrogen fusion of the deuterium-tritium hydrogen fuel.

That blows away Anon’s silly theory.

The Bomb premis still works for Japan. The technicality of the reaction has as much weight against it, as reason has against using hydrogen in passenger vehicles… 😉 x


Hydrogen is no more dangerous than gasoline as far as flamability; I’d only be concerned with the pressures involved and the metal embrittlement.

This probably works for electricity – scarce Japan. Not sure it is all that cost effective here.

“This probably works for electricity – scarce Japan.” Uh . . . I’d say the opposite. If electricity is scarce in Japan (due to all the nukes turned off) then they should use their electricity more efficiently by charging up batteries instead of wasting much it with that inefficient electricity to hydrogen boondoggle that they illustrated.

Seeing as there is only 1 Nuke plant running (2 units), I dont see much spare juice from this plant at anytime. Maybe the other poster didn’t realize they’re down 52 units to 2.

But granted, I think the windmill generated h2 is just for show. In actuality they’ll get the h2 from easier sources.

I still don’t think it makes sense in the states, even with our currently low cost methane. Methane is proving its usability in trucks and busses, and the prestigious CLeanCIties group loves it.

It is rather Ironic that for the first time in 15 years, what with Honda discontinuing its CNG civic, and Chevy having problems with the CNG Impala, that you cannot at this moment buy a CNG car, which to me makes much more sense than anything H2 here.


Please Anon!

So you are saying the reason Japan likes H2 is because the US nuked Japan??

Another bold experiment attempts to move mankind forward, only to meet ridicule from armchair critics whose self esteem is tied up with battery technology. Poisoned by propaganda presented as conventional wisdom, and swallowed hook, like, and sinker, the level of discourse drops to the level of climate change deniers. Comments on this site are truly waste of time.

Three Electrics said:

“Comments on this site are truly waste of time.”

That certainly applies to comments from those who don’t understand the laws of physics, or who think there is some clever way to get around the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Hoooray!!!! the “laws of Physics” and the “second law of thermodynamics”. If we just put those in our post then everyone will clearly see that there is absolutely no room for anything new and that everything can be solved with a battery sold by Tesla. **sarcasm off** There is a fair amount of irony in the flat earth society invoking the “laws of thermodynamics” to stop a scientific trial. This is a trial to develop a technology at a certain scale before moving forward to a larger scale. Yes, it would be more efficient and probably more cost effective to transport the power in a high voltage power line but that is not really research or a trial is it? That’s just doing what we do now…… at a smaller scale. The end goal is the “hydrogen society” where hydrogen is produced in a different country and then transported to Japan to be converted back into electrical power either on board a car, in distributed micro-fuel cell CHP units or in larger fuel cell “power stations”. This is driven by Japans urge to become less dependent on coal and natural gas whilst still maintaining their position as an industrial nation.… Read more »

“This is driven by Japans urge to become less dependent on coal and natural gas whilst still maintaining their position as an industrial nation. It would be a lot cheaper and more efficient (as in less energy in for more energy out) for them to keep burning fossil fuels.”

All they need to do is turn their nuclear plants back on to solve most of this.

That’s true and it was certainly a big part of the plan in the 1970’s but if Fukushima had been in LA do you think the people of San Francisco would agree to having their nuclear power station turned back on?

No, because Americans have been indoctrinated by the media to have a phobia of nuclear power and RADIATION!! almost as deep as that of the Japanese.

There is no rational public debate over the relative risk to public health of nuclear power vs. coal-fired power plants. If there was, then we’d have a lot more nuclear power plants and a lot fewer coal-fired ones.

Your first post above is a classic. I got a belly laugh from it. Hear! Hear!

“Mobile station” is an oxymoron. It’s a detail, but a detail that just personifies the whole hot mess that is hydrogen fool cells.

* @Pushmi-Pullyu = classic classic classic

@ Kdawg – your revision to Toyota’s graphic is perfect. And might I add, hilarious! Toyota just keeps digging their hydrogen hole deeper and deeper – cow fart commercials and all! 🙂

Thanks James, but if there was an “Edit” button here I would delete my first post. kdawg’s post was much more to the point, and far more succinct! It deserves to be first.

toyota sucks

So many expert opinions – astounding. One might suppose Japan will eventually use off peak nuclear to electrolyze water. This provides nearly free hydrogen. Maybe everybody is not stupid.

Why not just use off peak nuclear to charge a large bank of batteries, instead of wasting it electrolyzing water. This allows additional energy to be available in a much more efficient manner when needed. Maybe EVERYBODY is not stupid?

Stunning in its absolute stupidity
– – -Waiting for the long lost of Toyota resignations.

And then what will it cost to refuel one’s HFC car with this hydrogen?

A lot more than it will cost to recharge one’s EV at home.

That light at the end of the tunnel is a train coming at you, Toyota.

I apologize for bad English. Is not it better to use hydrogen for trucks instead of passenger cars.Trucks require large batteries, which increases the cost price, while hydrogen technology is the same and should not be a difference in price for cars and trucks.