Determined to demonstrate the viability of its hydrogen-powered vehicles, the Japanese automaker helped a California city become part of the state's Hydrogen Highway initiative.
Last week, Toyota's U.S. division celebrated the opening of the first hydrogen fueling station in the U.S. that is fed directly from an active industrial hydrogen pipeline.
The facility, which is the result of a joint-effort between Toyota, Air Products, Shell, South Coast Air Quality Management District and the Department of Energy, will provide hydrogen for the Toyota fuel cell hybrid demonstration program vehicles as well as other manufacturers' fuel cell vehicle fleets in the Los Angeles area.
"We plan to bring a fuel cell vehicle to market in 2015, or sooner, and the infrastructure must be in place to support our customers’ needs," said Chris Hostetter, group vice president, product and strategic planning, for Toyota Motor Sales. The fuel-cell vehicle on display during the station's opening ceremonies achieved an estimated range of four hundred and thirty-one miles on a single fill of hydrogen. And its only emission is pure, plain water.
It was way back in 2003 that then-President Bush announced a $1.2 billion initiative to begin developing a national hydrogen infrastructure: a coast-to-coast network of facilities that would produce and distribute the hydrogen for powering hundreds of millions of fuel cell vehicles (Popular Mechanics).
Although it has been touted as the ideal clean fuel, and contains three times the energy of natural gas, it's important to remember that hydrogen alone can't power anything--it's simply a means for storing and transporting the energy that already exists in water and fossil fuels.
The new station is located adjacent to the TMS sales and marketing headquarters campus. In 2010, Toyota partnered with Ballard Power Systems to install a one-megawatt hydrogen fuel cell generator to offset peak electricity demand on campus. The fuel cell generator will be fed directly from the hydrogen pipeline through an existing tap on the TMS property. Pipeline hydrogen used on campus will be offset with the purchase of landfill generated renewable bio-gas.