The Port of Long Beach and its tenant, Toyota Logistics Services (TLS), have released a draft plan for North America’s first 100% renewable megawatt carbonate fuel cell power generation plant as part of planned improvements to Toyota’s Pier B terminal at the port.
The company, a division of Toyota Motor North America, is seeking to consolidate its facilities within the existing terminal footprint and to build a fuel cell plant called Tri-Gen that would produce hydrogen to supply a new hydrogen pumping station for the company’s hydrogen-powered vehicles, such as the Mirai.
“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,” an announcement made by Toyota in November stated.
The function of the Toyota’s Port of Long Beach facility is to receive and process vehicles from overseas, according to Jamese Yarber, senior manager of TLS. “For our dealers, we put on post production accessories to the vehicle. We add vehicle content to help our dealers increase the sale of the unit,” she said of work at the terminal. “And then the second thing we do is we’re responsible for the logistics of those units from the facility to our dealer network on the West Coast,” she explained. Vehicles are distributed both by truck and by rail.
Multiple buildings onsite would be combined into a new LEED certified structure, according to the plans. Russ Koble, manager of brand communications for TLS, said the changes would result in a “big reduction” in air emissions at the facility. Consolidated operations would include offices, car washing, fueling, auto body work and other services, according to a statement from the port.
Richard Cameron, managing director of planning and environmental affairs for the port, is excited about the future potential of the project beyond Toyota’s immediate needs. He noted that Toyota is testing a zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cell powered Class A semi-truck within the port complex, and speculated that the development of this technology could be partly behind Toyota’s motivation in building hydrogen fueling station. Yarber confirmed this.
Cameron said he hopes that, down the road, there might be the potential to form a private-public partnership with Toyota for hydrogen fueling needs if the new drayage technology takes off on a larger scale. “These are exciting times,” he said.
A final internal vote by Toyota on whether to go forward with the project is scheduled in August, according to Yarber. “After that point we will be ready to break ground. And our hope is to do that prior to the end of calendar year 2018,” she said.
The draft study for the project is available for public comment at www.polb.com/ceqa.