Toyota Hints At Megawatt Stations For Semi Trucks, Hydrogen Of Course

MAR 4 2018 BY MARK KANE 87

Many companies are now engaged in semi truck projects – Tesla, Toyota and Nikola Motor – some seem to be racing each other in Mega-infrastructure projects too.

Toyota Project Portal – Port of Long Beach

Tesla recently announced the Megacharger network, which is anticipated to have well over 1 MW of power per stall.

Nikola Motor announced 16 mega-stations spanning over 2,000 miles for hydrogen fuel cell semi trucks.

And now comes Toyota, who announced a Megawatt-scale hydrogen station.

In the case of the Japanese manufacturer, the Tri-Gen station at the Port of Long Beach is to be the founding element for the Project Portal Heavy-Duty Truck Concept.

The Tri-Gen will generate approximately 2.35 megawatts of electricity and 1,200 kg of hydrogen per day, bio-waste sourced from California agricultural waste. It should be enough to refuel 24 hydrogen trucks a day (assuming 50 kg per day).

The station is expected to be ready in 2020, but with only one demonstration project Toyota again does not convince us that it will be able to compete with battery-powered trucks.

“When it comes online in 2020, Tri-Gen will generate approximately 2.35 megawatts of electricity and 1.2 tons of hydrogen per day, enough to power the equivalent of about 2,350 average-sized homes and meet the daily driving needs of nearly 1,500 vehicles. The power generation facility will be 100% renewable, supplying Toyota Logistics Services’ (TLS) operations at the Port and making them the first Toyota facility in North America to use 100% renewable power.

Tri-Gen is a key step forward in Toyota’s work to develop a hydrogen society. In addition to serving as a key proof-of-concept for 100% renewable, local hydrogen generation at scale, the facility will supply all Toyota fuel cell vehicles moving through the Port, including new deliveries of the Mirai sedan and Toyota’s Heavy Duty hydrogen fuel cell class 8 truck, known as Project Portal. To support these refueling operations, Toyota has also built one of the largest hydrogen fueling stations in the world on-site with the help of Air Liquide.

Tri-Gen has been developed by FuelCell Energy with the support of the US Department of Energy, California agencies including the California Air Resources Board, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Orange County Sanitation District, and the University of California at Irvine, whose research helped develop the core technology. The facility exceeds California’s strict air quality standards and advances the overall goals of the California Air Resources Board, the California Energy Commission, and the Air Quality Management Districts of the South Coast and the Bay Area, who have been leaders in the work to reduce emissions and improve air quality.

Going forward, Toyota remains committed to supporting the development of a consumer- facing hydrogen infrastructure to realize the potential of fuel cell vehicles. Thirty-one retail hydrogen stations are now open for business in California, and Toyota continues to partner with a broad range of companies to develop new stations. That includes a partnership with Shell that represents the first such collaboration between a major automotive and major oil company.”

Doug Murtha, group vice president- Strategic Planning said:

“For more than twenty years, Toyota has been leading the development of fuel cell technology because we understand the tremendous potential to reduce emissions and improve society. Tri-Gen is a major step forward for sustainable mobility and a key accomplishment of our 2050 Environmental Challenge to achieve net zero CO2 emissions from our operations.”

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87 Comments on "Toyota Hints At Megawatt Stations For Semi Trucks, Hydrogen Of Course"

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James Looker

This trigen plant is more about the Molten Carbonate FCs than the hydrogen trucks.


Hopefully they’ll use that power to charge BEVs in the future. Would go much farther that way.


Yup. That same electricity would take a plug-in EV something like 4x to 5x farther than using it in the energy-wasting supply chain for hydrogen to power a fool cell car.


4-5x father? That would be news to me. Do you have the numbers/links to back that up?


Sure, those facts and figures are easily found.

The basic facts are laid out in the first link; more detail found in the second.

Thanks for the link. There is more energy loss in various stages to run the hydrogen car than I anticipated. Having said that, the Honda Clarity cell is 60% efficient. That would make the electric vehicle would travel 2.5x farther. Anyway, that’s assuming you start with electricity as the starting point. If you start with methane, the numbers change in favour of hydrogen cars. Batteries are still not very energy dense in terms of volume or mass. This means any long range electric vehicle has to be necessarily very heavy and costly. That is not to say that hydrogen cars are not costly right now but it does scale better than battery cars for range. My view is that all high-end vehicles will go electric. If you’re willing to spend $100k on a car, you don’t mind that the battery cost $20,000. But your average Joe cannot spend $20,000 on a battery for a long range electric car. I think hydrogen holds the promise to fulfill that gap. Again, not to say it’s there yet but the potential is there. There’s a lot of talk of solid-state batteries. Those might tip the balance completely in favour of electric cars. If… Read more »

Your articles and numbers are very old and a lot has changed since 2006 and 2007.BEV’s are undoubtedly more efficient but not nearly as more as efficient as all the propaganda is suggesting.Most FCEVs have battery packs also and are capable of a plug-in feature so very little hydrogen would be used during longer trips.Power to gas(P2G) enables massive storage in the existing NG grid and gas to liquids(GTL) is GOING to be part of the future too.


This is almost funny!I have read that they can make a gallon of high quality low emissions liquid fuel from NG for about $1.00 per gallon now but it blends with regular gasoline so you will never be able to buy GTL fuel directly.They have the ability to engineer a very high quality low emissions liquid fuel economically now from renewable energy now.They could rip all the emissions equipment and electronics out of a gas car and make them much cheaper and be almost or more green than a BEV.Not many people have seen that coming except me!


They can gasify anything even nuclear,wind and solar and throw it all into the gas grid and do just about anything you want with it at the other end.This could save a lot of rare earth metals.


Toyota’s ongoing greenwashing campaign, pretending that “fool cell” vehicles are actually either practical or non-polluting, has long passed the point of being merely tiresome.

The only reason Toyota continues to promote the “hydrogen economy” hoax is that their current strategy regarding EVs is to wait until significantly cheaper batteries are available for them. In the meantime, sadly, they continue to promote the “hydrogen economy”, a hoax that only a science denier could love, while promoting their feeble hope that their current partner trying to develop solid state batteries is going to succeed where their previous partner failed.

Here’s hoping Toyota will be one of the legacy gasmobile makers which fails to make the transition during the EV revolution. Given their greenwashing and their obstinacy here, they certainly deserve it!

* * * * *

“How to Promote the Hydrogen Economy Hoax”:

James Looker

Toyota is just proving that already H2 works at large enough scale. The economics of a semi are completely different than the Mirai.


The massive inefficiency and high expense of using electricity and fossil fuels to generate, compress, store, move, re-compress, and dispense H2 fuel does not magically change just because it’s used in a big truck instead of in a passenger car.

Freight trucking is very sensitive to the price of fuel. The idea that freight trucking companies would switch from diesel to a fuel that costs between 2x and 4x as much, is denying reality very firmly indeed!


How else will massive amounts of electricy be made available for rapid transfer to commercial vehicles?

Do you honestly think the grid can supply it or having local banks of batteries on site?

In other words, you clearly haven’t the bigger picture yet. That’s typical for those making “fool cell” remarks.


They will be servicing fleets for clients, so they are already in talks with them to establish charging at their hubs.
It won’t be like the sc network.


You don’t need massive amount of electricity to move trucks as can be seen from all the trucks on the road today. Only fools will pay 4X the price to drive on electricity. Heck, even paying 1X current price of fuel is stupid when H / electric charging is so much less convenient.


Considering that Tesla gets 500 mpc on a full charge, and can do another 400 MPC on a 40 minute charge, I would say that you are the one not getting it. 900 miles / day is plenty for the vast majority of these vehicles.
And at .07 or even .10 / kwh, Tesla blows the doors off diesel or H2 trucks.


Are you talking about that greenwasher company that blows chicken wing doors off Model X delivering bottled water to fellow greenwashers? Tesloop or TeslaSmug, whatever was its name.

That indeed blows doors and minds of people in freight business :/ Economy of scale! Disruption! Giga! Rockets on barges will be delivering bottled water to Tokyo, that the thing!


Are you having a stroke?

Call 911, and remain calm.

Get Real

I have a better idea, DON’T call 911 and remain agitated so you can take one for the team!


Dude, your sputtering is getting spittle on my computer screen!

All your wishful thinking isn’t going to magically change hydrogen fuel into something that can compete on cost or practicality with using electricity to charge batteries.

Getting upset about that physical and economic reality isn’t going to change anything. If you’re finally, finally facing that reality after posting science-denier fool cell fanboy comments to literally hundreds of InsideEVs articles about fool cell vehicles, then that’s a good first step!


“Do you honestly think the grid can supply it or having local banks of batteries on site?”

Yes, I honestly know — not just “think” — that industrial electrical power can be supplied from the grid to Tesla Megachargers at the rate of something like 1.2 MW per charger.

Just like I know — not just “think” — that industrial electrical power is being used to power such things as electric induction furnaces, at up to 42 MW apiece!

And if you were not a die-hard Tesla basher, then you wouldn’t be suggesting that somehow it’s hard or unusual for electric utilities to supply that power in industrial areas.

Bill Howland
Well John1701a, there are other complications, but Tesla supposedly is providing $.07 / kwh juice – so if THAT is true it won’t matter to the customer, even in expensive areas. I keep saying Tesla is unique in that as long as the DJIA keeps rising Tesla doesn’t have the financial concerns one would normally expect. I have other concerns about BEV trucks being MEGACHARGED, but zzzzzzz, and others are correct in saying Pushi isn’t the one to criticize here. He thinks there are similar pressures in a propane tank as there are in a CNG tank. Since he so often waves the Physics and ‘2nd law of thermodynamics’ flags, without knowing much about the former and zero about the later, he has also proven that when he gets into the slightest bit of technical detail he is blind to the subject matter, yet doesn’t realize it. Obviously, LNG is much more analogous to a propane tank – it matters not to me whether the propane is actually taken from the bottom of the tank and then through an external vaporizer or not, or whether the tank is its own vaporizer. While I’m usually at odds with the H2 people… Read more »

Yeah, they have subsidize the heck out of them to even get people to buy them, free fuel. I think NG is a better choice, and is making inroads in the industry, that a FC semi can’t really beat, and of course the Tesla ev truck will make a mockery out of it.

Besides, they can’t even seem to get a miniscule fleet of cars in CA the hydrogen they need at proper rates & pressures.


Yeah, I think it’s a tragedy that the “Pickens Plan” to use CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), rather than diesel, to power heavy freight trucks, never took off. That would be both far cheaper and considerably less polluting.

But hey, the upside of that is that it makes BEV heavy trucking all that much more competitive with the high cost of using fuel. Looks like the industry is gonna go directly from diesel to BEV heavy trucking.

The idea that there is going to be a wholesale conversion to using hydrogen for fuel… well, at some point it’s not even worth laughing at the science deniers any more. The claims for the “hydrogen economy” hoax are no longer so ridiculous they are funny; they are just stupid.

Up the EV revolution!


Yeah, he had lots of natural gas and nothing to do with it. That was swan song debacle of his career, coupled with his insistence, and bet, that oil would quickly return to $100 a barrel. Oops!
Though NG Trucks are proliferating, albeit slowly.


You are totally lost here.
Trigen will use landfill waste to product electricity and collect methane to reform it to hydrogen and strore it and dispense it.
Methane landfill is a big contributor of greenhouse gas and it should be recuperate everywhere because it’s 25 or more active than Co2 for heating up the atmosphere.
How can it be bad?


(production), and my reply is for pushpull.

Ben w

Because you could use the methane to generate electricity and charge a car directly rather than going through an inefficient process and generating hydrogen.


Generating electricity to charge batteries is 40% efficient, generating electricity on the truck is about the same.


Reality differs from your understanding.


“Generating electricity to charge batteries is 40% efficient, generating electricity on the truck is about the same.”

Are you on drugs?

Using electricity to charge batteries is about 4x to 5x as energy efficient as using it to power all the steps in the supply chain for fool cell vehicles. Reforming methane from a landfill doesn’t magically change the equation; that’s no more efficient than reforming natural gas.


Take a therm of NG and run it through a turbine to make electricity, then use that to charge batteries.

Reform a therm to hydrogen to run a fuel cell. No drugs involved but your insults say you may be on drugs.

Bill Howland

Well, others are not the only ones whose numbers are a bit off. Almost all new Natural Gas power plants are of the Combined Cycle variety, where methane is burned in a Gas Tubine, and then sent through a HRSG to run a steam turbine, the largest machines (GE and Mitsubishi) currently having 64% efficient machines running. And large ICE machines are also over 50% efficient – even before selling the ‘wasted’ heat for district heating or other productive uses.

But point taken that Fuel Cell efficiency is either now, or probably will be in the future in the 50-60% range, a VERY GOOD THING considering the current highly subsidized price of $10-16/kg, so that you need much less fuel to push the truck down the road.


While new installations are mostly combined cycle not all run above 50%. Most fossil fuel plants run around 40%.


This has been explained I don’t know how many dozens of times, in discussions I’m sure you have read, Djoni. Even if the cost for generating H2 was free — which it will never be, because buying, installing, and maintaining the generation equipment isn’t free — the amount of electricity you’d have to use for compression, storage, and dispensing H2 could propel a BEV vehicle down the road much further than using H2 to power that same vehicle.

At some point, we have to conclude that if you still don’t understand, then either you are incapable of understanding some pretty basic science, or else you’re just being invincibly ignorant.


Wind and solar make up a small part of grid generation, most is fossil fuel with an efficiency of about 40%.

Transmit that, convert that, charge batteries then output to the inverter you have less than 30%.

Get Real

And that ratio is changing rapidly thanks to….economics.

New RE is quickly becoming the cheapest way to generate electricity (after all, the fuel is FREE).

This BTW is why the Koch Heads and other fossil fool corporations are freaking out and spending ungodly sums on buying Republicans and Judges and paid trolls to try and tilt the playing field but they will still lose because of….economics.


The world will not be 100% wind and solar anytime soon.

Get Real

I say within 10 years pretty much only RE will be built and in fact there isn’t a lot of non RE being built any more anyways:

RE is right now destroying dirty coal and starting to nibble at NG.

Once more storage is built it will start taking out substantial NG.


Pushmi – your chart (and thinking) STARTS with electricity. Certainly it’s more efficient to put that electricity in a BEV than to turn it into H2.

Tri-Gen starts with biogas. They convert biogas to H2 and electricity. Your chart does not apply, at least not without adding extra stages and losses for the BEV case.


After the landfill emits biogas, the following steps are needed before dispensing into a fool cell car or truck:

1. Compression (using lots of electricity)

2. Storage (some loss due to leakage involved)

3. Transport using cryogenically cooled tanker trucks (energy used plus some leakage involved)

4. Storage at the H2 fueling station (recompression involved, lots more electricity used)

5. Dispensing into the fool cell car/truck

6. Using the H2 in the fuel cell… which is only ~50% efficient at using the stored energy, as opposed to a BEV with ~90-92% efficiency at converting battery power to motive power in the electric motor.

More details and figures here, if you need them:


I am well aware of the inneficiency of multiple steps neccessary to proprel anything.
The point you don’t answer is why too many landfill let methane spill in the atmosphere damaging climate uselessly.
How to use this gas after is an other question, and even if it’s not very efficient it is wise to use it and avoiding some adverse effect.
« One bird in the hand is better than two in the bush »

James Looker

They’re using biomass not grid electricity.


Which you could use to drive a BEV much more efficiently. Or use to replace coal generation somewhere.


Gasify biomass to hydrogen then burn it in a gas turbine with alternator to make electricicy to charge batteries.

Now take that hydrogen from the biomass to run a fuel cell on a vehicle. You come out about the same, but no combustion pollution.


Why would you gasify the methane to H2?

You can simply burn it in a NG generator, or use a solid oxide fuel cell to generate electricity directly. You’ll be way ahead.


I did not say gasify methane, I said gasify biomass. You REFORM methane.


Also, you don’t need to compress for use at the point of collection, saving you even more.


This article is about using the H2 to power a vehicle. Kinda hard to do that at the point of origin, and kinda hard to do that without all those energy-wasting steps between generation and dispensing!

This is what the fool cell fanboys always refuse to acknowledge: That generating hydrogen is a very long way from dispensing it into the fool cell vehicle. They write as if the H2 is magically whisked from generation into highly compressed H2 gas inside the vehicle’s fuel tank.

They don’t like to talk about the astronomically high cost (per vehicle) of the fueling stations, either.


You do realize it takes energy to strip hydrogen from methane, and then additional energy to compress it, right?


If you reform methane you can use the H2 and save the CO2 for carbon fiber.


Can you point to even one single natural gas/methane reformation plant that is “saving the carbon” to make carbon fiber?


Then that’s no more relevant to the discussion than talking about unicorns to magically create H2 out of rainbows, directly into the tanks of fool cell cars and trucks.


Just because it has not been done does not mean it can not be done. Cool your mania or another letter to the editors is in order.


They have not proven anything. When you get right down to it, they cannot even provide a stable fuel network for the handful of FC cars they have on the road right now.


Also, the project continues because CARB has special ridiculous high carbon credits for hydrogen. Kill those, and this dies too.

This is mostly funded on California taxpayer’s backs.

There should be a massive rollout of charging along California highways, and this project funding dropped.


Completely useless video, doesn’t tell you anything. Just music and pictures of truck and car.


Does anyone know how the hydrogen in this supply facility is made? Hydrolysis of water? Steam reformation of natural gas with accompanying CO2 generation? Another process?


From comments above, I guess they’re proposing reformation of methane from a landfill, which would be similar to steam reformation of natural gas. Keep in mind that natural gas is mostly methane.

Of course, this would be every bit as energy inefficient as using reformation of natural gas to make hydrogen fuel. Plus, it’s just one more example of fool cell fanboys focusing on just the process of generating hydrogen, while ignoring the many other energy-wasting steps in the supply chain for fool cell vehicles.


Are you capable of making a single comment about fuel cells without the “fool cell” terminology? I stop reading as soon as I get to that because I know the commentator isn’t even trying to be objective.


But you’re okay with people trying to promote the “hydrogen economy” hoax?

Pardon me if I think you’re exposing your own bias, not mine.


You’re calling it a hoax; that doesn’t make it one.


Pushi, this is a very old landfill in the harbor. Methane from lots of landfills can obviously be repurposed into all sorts of different energy boondoggles. Hydrogen test case scaling cost analysis and strategic development businesses structures, are playing out right before your very eyes, in some if not most of these projects.

This test facility just happens to be a little slippery, in kind of banana peel sort of way. It’s good to remember that Chevron is a major California energy supplier, and they are among many energy Corps. doing the early heavy lifting on these California fuel cell partnership Hydrogen projects. These may not play into the ideal EV energy supply chain scenario. But, there is definitely a method to their madness, and it centers around some unpleasant unmentionable externalities.

These Corporations are completing for a very profitable and lucrative existing revenue stream. The O&G industries are willing to accommodate only certain acceptable incremental levels of interfering market competition, and strategic disruption. Surely you know, and are aware of their efficient and powerful lobbying tactics up in Sacramento.


There are all sorts of practical uses for methane. Natural gas is mostly methane, and so methane can be used as a source of natural gas with no conversion required.

But this article is about yet another science denying attempt to promote the “hydrogen economy” hoax. Can methane be reformed into hydrogen? Yes, that is possible. But trying to use that to support the “hydrogen economy” hoax isn’t any more reasonable or truthful than any other promotion of that hoax.


Fine, fine, but how much will H from this station cost compared to diesel truck fuel? If it costs 4X like for passenger FCEV today, this is dead idea.


How terribly unfair of you to bring actual facts and logic to an argument with science-denying fool cell fanboys. 😉


“..fool cell fanboys.”
You are obsessed, seek help.

Get Real

This represents a spin worthy of the Trumpster Administration as it seeks to conflate two entirely different things!

Biogas through biodigesters which is a fine way to utilize waste to produce some electricity on site with waste facilities, IS NOT going to ever scale up to run the H2 Hoax economy.

The even admit it that the H2 produced through several additional expensive steps can do 25-50 H2 vehicle fills per day.

That represents only about 1 hour of fills at a gas station.

This is another COMPLETELY SUBSIDIZED H2 facility that Coyota is using to push its H2 distraction rather then compete with truly compelling PEVs.

I do agree however that despite its horrendously low efficiency, H2 may be useful in some cases as seasonal power storage for electric generation FOR THE GRID.

It is not suitable as mobile fuel for at least light vehicles because of its very poor inefficiency that leads to much higher costs that must be heavily subsidized to camouflaged to hide its deficiencies in this regard.



I used to think so, but I’m not so sure anymore. Losing about 70% energy (30% overall efficiency) is not something to pursue when more BEV become available, grid controlled charging can have twice the efficiency.

Even if grid controlled charging of BEV doesn’t come to pass for some reason, I don’t think anyone will embrace a technology that loses 70% of energy just for storage.


I think 30% is optimistic, but what’s the alternative? Sure, pumped storage is more efficient, but it’s hard to find a place to put it. Nuclear is clearly better but there’s a lot of resistance to it. Batteries would have to get way cheaper to smooth seasonal variation.

If nothing better comes along we may have to accept hydrogen for long term storage. I won’t like it, though.


If there is abundant wind and solar but the grid won’t let it on you make H2/O2, sell the O2 then power buses and trucks with the H2.


Nuclear is not clearly better. It’s also quite difficult to find places for nuclear.

They need seismically stable places close to large bodies of water which they won’t significantly impact.


I’m being generous at 30%, because it’s fixed site that can take advantage of space, unlike cars. But would people really want storage with 70% loss in energy? Time will tell, but I suspect economics just won’t make sense.


Nothing says “greenwashing” like touting biomass hydrogen. There’s just not enough of it to go around.


I would say there is not even 5% of the methane we use coming from renewable sources and that is unlikely to increase.


I read in the late 2000s that just using the more economical sources like farm waste, sewage and landfill could provide 9% of the natural gas, and natural gas use has increased since then.


Perhaps “could” but does not NOW.

Get Real

BTW, can’t wait for the serial anti-Tesla trolls and fool cell shills like zzzzz, his little mouse and others to wake up in Russia and come here to pollute this thread.


Good job comrade GR, never miss a chance to trash some EVs or just hate anything. Make these Americans fight each other.

Tovarisch Putin is proud of you!


Right on time. 🙁


Russian trolls love them some projection. When called out for being a Ruissian troll, the classic Russian troll response is projection, or “you’re hysterical”, or “grow up”.

Putin really has ruined the internet.


Can somebody please relay back to their buddy Vlad, some “Murcia” MAGA reverse projection, “Hey get a life!”


Surprised Noone has checked the numbers. 1200kg of H2 from 2.35MW will power ~240 5kg tanks, which supposedly gets you ~300mi range.
That same 2.35MW will only charge about 40 60kWh BEV, which could only go ~250mi.
I don’t really understand how this works when creation of H2 is supposed to be at least 50% more energy intense than just storing it into the battery. Did I make a mistake in my maths?
I also read somewhere that H2 has to be compressed between fills, if that is true then that will have a huge negative impact as well.


You’re confusing power with energy. MW is power, kWh is energy in MW for 0.1 hours. Each kg of H has about 33 kWh of energy so to drive 300 miles using 2.35 MWh,

2350 kWh / 33kWh/kg / 5kg = 14 FCEV

2350 kWh / 60 kWh * 240 miles / 300 miles = 31 Bolts

Quite simply, BEV are twice as efficient from tank/battery to wheels AND provide more power (Mirai is a turtle!). Since charging the battery is also about twice as efficient as making H using electricity, BEV are about 3-4 times as efficient as FCEV.

But forget all that when it comes to actual use. Kg of H costs $16.50 in San Diego, about 3 times that of gasoline even after factoring in FCEV’s higher efficiency over gasoline cars. There’s no way people are going to pay 3 times more for H when there’s literally zero advantage over gasoline cars.


“kWh is energy in MW for 0.1 hours”

Oops, that should be MW for 0.001 hours. Obviously, kilo is 1000th of mega.


“ least 50% more energy intense..”
Where are you getting that? Based on weight or volume? Energy intense or energy dense, it is good to get the terms accurate.

“..2.35 megawatts of electricity AND 1,200 kg of hydrogen per day..” Reading comprehension helps. They are not making hydrogen from those megawatts, they make BOTH.