Toyota and a number of partners are experimenting with a new hydrogen supply chain that is set to reduce CO2 emissions by 80 percent.
To investigate how to make clean hydrogen and deliver it on a large scale, Toyota and its partners will first start small by powering 12 hydrogen forklifts spread over four different factories. Energy to electrolyze the hydrogen will come from the Hama Wing wind power plant.
This method offers a solution for the biggest complaint about hydrogen fuel, which is that it is currently produced almost exclusively using fossil fuels.
The Japanese automaker along with the cities of Yokohama, Kawasaki, the prefectural Kanagawa government, private company Iwatani Corp. and energy and technology company Toshiba are all partnered together on this project.
Besides learning more about producing usable hydrogen with wind power, this project will also give Toyota insight into how best to transport and store the hydrogen fuel. The brand says there will be a two-day supply of hydrogen stored at each site along with electricity which will be stored in old batteries from the Prius hybrid. This will ensure that even if Hama Wing shuts down the factories can continue with their work.
Cost assessment is another major part of the project and Toyota is hoping to learn more about what a mass-production process would cost and how to make it run efficiently. Toyota also wants this project to help the public adopt the idea of hydrogen power as the company believes it proves that technological innovation can bring the fuel source to the masses conveniently.
Two hydrogen-powered forklifts will be introduced this fall, while the full-scale operation, which involves 12 forklifts, will get off the ground in 2017. The fuel will be delivered on tanker trucks which will refuel the forklifts directly.
In the U.S., Toyota currently offers the Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell powered sedan for lease only in California.