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Giant new Toyota fuel cell powers buildings rather than cars

October 21, 2012|By Jerry Hirsch
  • A stationary fuel cell at Toyota's Torrance campus generates enough electricity to power 765 homes.
A stationary fuel cell at Toyota's Torrance campus generates enough… (Toyota Motor Corp. )

Although its will be years before Toyota sells hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the U.S., it is already utilizing the technology.

Last week the automaker activated a 1.1-megawatt hydrogen fuel cell generator at its Torrance campus.

The fuel cell will supply approximately half of the electricity for six headquarters buildings during peak demand, while producing zero emissions, and will shave $130,000 off the automaker’s annual utility bill.

It is designed by Ballard Power Systems and is the largest stationary fuel cell of its kind in operation, Toyota said.

The mini-power plant is fed directly from a pre-existing industrial hydrogen pipeline – the same line that supplies a hydrogen filling station adjacent to the Toyota headquarters.

Ironically, drivers of Honda and Mercedes fuel cell vehicles that are part of experimental programs in California are the users of that filling station. Toyota plans to offer its first fuel cell vehicle to the public in 2015.  It has not released any price or product information about the vehicle.

“Supporting alternative energy sources like hydrogen supports Toyota’s overarching commitment to lessen our impact on the environment and drive forward innovative technology,” said Bob Daly, a Toyota Motor Sales USA senior vice president. “Not only will this new hydrogen fuel cell generator reduce the environmental footprint of our headquarters campus, but it showcases the power and potential of hydrogen as a fuel source.”

Toyota said its fuel cell system on average provides enough power for about 765 homes.


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