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Toyota plans power plant fueled by cattle manure

Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

LOS ANGELES – Toyota Motor North America plans to build a power plant in California that captures methane gas from dairy cattle waste to generate water, electricity and hydrogen.

The company announced the project at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The Tri-Gen Project at the Port of Long Beach, Calif., will be the world's first commercial-scale 100 percent renewable power and hydrogen generation plant. Toyota is betting heavily on fuel cell technology, especially in Japan.

When it comes online around 2020, Tri-Gen will produce enough meet the daily driving needs of nearly 1,500 vehicles – about 2.35 megawatts of electricity and 1.2 tons of hydrogen per day, according to Toyota.

In addition, the hydrogen fueling station will support the automaker's operations at the port.

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.

"In most states, you have a conventional natural gas pipeline network that provides heat for your stove or furnace. The majority of natural gas comes from drilling for well gases," said Matt McClory, senior engineer with Toyota research and development. "We're trying to green up this process. One way is to find renewable sources, like from gases emitted from landfills, wastewater treatment plants and farm animals."


For this project, Toyota will source renewable methane from agricultural waste, primarily from dairy farm manure in California, McClory said.

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