A global shipping and logistics group is partnering with a former race boat to pioneer towards zero-emission shipping.
Toyota Australia, with funding assistance from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), has unveiled plans to build a $7.4 million Hydrogen Centre at the company’s former site of car manufacturing at Altona in Melbourne’s west.
The Hydrogen Centre is part of a larger plan to transform the former Altona site into a Centre of Excellence.
As part of the Hydrogen Centre project, existing manufacturing infrastructure will be repurposed into Victoria’s first integrated hydrogen site, complete with electrolyser, commercial grade hydrogen refuelling station and an education centre with live demonstrations.
ARENA will contribute $3.1 million towards the Hydrogen Centre development, with Toyota Australia investing the remaining $4.3 million.
Toyota Australia’s president and CEO Matt Callachor said the Hydrogen Centre announcement was a step towards the company meeting its target of zero CO2 emissions from sites and vehicles by 2050.
“This is a very exciting time for Toyota Australia. Today’s announcement with ARENA aligns with our global drive to promote sustainable mobility and to play a leading role in the transition to a decarbonised future,” Mr Callachor said.
“Hydrogen has the potential to play a pivotal role in the future because it can be used to store and transport energy from wind, solar and other renewable sources to power many things, including vehicles like the Toyota Mirai Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV).
“Right now, the biggest factor to the success of hydrogen being widely available is the lack of infrastructure. The sooner we move to a zero emissions society, the better, and Toyota is committed to making this a reality.”
ARENA chief executive officer Darren Miller said Toyota’s Hydrogen Centre would demonstrate hydrogen as a viable fuel source for transport and as an energy storage medium.
“Toyota is helping to pave the way for more renewably powered vehicles in Australia, where the uptake of electric vehicles has been slower than other countries.
“The demonstration of low-cost hydrogen production and distribution is key to the uptake of hydrogen-powered electric vehicles in areas such as truck, bus and government fleets.
“Australia holds a competitive advantage to play a global role in the emerging hydrogen export market due to our existing expertise and infrastructure. We’re excited to see Toyota add their skills to the mix and be a major player in increasing the reach of hydrogen applications in different sectors,” Mr Miller said.
Construction on the Hydrogen Centre will commence this year, with the education centre expected to be open by December 2019, and the electrolyser and hydrogen refuelling station fully operational by late 2020.
Once up and running, the hydrogen refuelling station will be able to fill a vehicle, like Toyota’s Mirai Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV), in between three and five minutes.
As part of its ongoing hydrogen advocacy efforts, Toyota Australia has been providing Toyota Mirai FCEV vehicles to local governments and commercial organisations through its hydrogen loan program.
Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) has put the first Toyota hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklifts outside of Japan into action during trials at Toyota Motor Corporation Australia’s parts centre located at its former manufacturing plant at Altona, Victoria.
The zero CO2-emission Toyota hydrogen fuel cell (FC) forklift demonstration is an extension of Toyota’s simultaneous trial for its Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), which share the same hydrogen-powered technology.
The Toyota hydrogen FC forklifts with a nominal rating of 2,500kg lift capacity will also be featuring in the official opening of the new Toyota Parts Centre in Western Sydney’s Kemps Creek.
Toyota hydrogen FC vehicles take pressurised hydrogen that is fed into a fuel cell stack, where it is combined with oxygen to create a chemical reaction that produces electricity to drive various motors depending on demand for motive power or hydraulic power for steering, braking or lifting loads.
Toyota hydrogen fuel cell forklifts will be especially suitable for logistics and warehouse operations given they can be conveniently refuelled in just a few minutes, offering obvious productivity efficiencies.
Toyota Material Handling Australia general manager – corporate compliance and project development Bob Walmsley said the hydrogen FC forklifts take around three minutes to fill the hydrogen tank, compared with around eight hours to recharge a conventional battery. “This means we can use these forklifts more often, without having to significantly wait between charges or use second-shift batteries to achieve the same utilisation,” said Mr Walmsley.
TMHA president and CEO Steve Takacs said the Toyota hydrogen FC forklifts are another example of the synergies available to Toyota Material Handling Australia from Toyota’s automotive arm.
“In much the same way Toyota’s range of forklift products are researched and developed using Toyota’s advanced manufacturing technologies – and built to the same exacting standards of quality, durability and reliability as Toyota’s automotive vehicles – our engineers collaborate across the Toyota Group to incorporate the latest technologies acquired from our automotive sector,” said Mr Takacs.
“We at TMHA are committed to constantly developing new and better technologies that raise the bar in terms of safety, performance, efficiency and sustainability, which will ultimately benefit our customers.
“These hydrogen FC forklifts are a clear demonstration of our commitment to the environment through the adoption of new and sustainable technologies. They have excellent environmental credentials as they do not emit CO2 or substances of concern (SOC) during operation.
The hydrogen FC forklifts will also be trialled at Toyota’s newest and largest Parts Centre warehouse at Kemps Creek, New South Wales.
The Toyota hydrogen FC forklifts and Mirai are not for sale in Australia, mainly due to a lack of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. Toyota’s mobile hydrogen fuelling station installed on a Hino 700 Series truck fuelled the FC forklifts and Mirai during the trials.
Australia is a step closer to a new hydrogen production and export industry following the national science agency’s successful refuelling of two fuel cell vehicles.
CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall was one of the first to ride in the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo vehicles powered by ultra-high purity hydrogen, produced in Queensland using CSIRO’s membrane technology.
This technology will pave the way for bulk hydrogen to be transported in the form of ammonia, using existing infrastructure, and then reconverted back to hydrogen at the point of use.
It has the potential to fill the gap in the technology chain to supply fuel cell vehicles around the world with low-emissions hydrogen sourced from Australia.
The membrane separates ultra-high purity hydrogen from ammonia, while blocking all other gases.
It links hydrogen production, distribution and delivery in the form of a modular unit that can be used at, or near, a refuelling station.
This means that the transportation and storage of hydrogen – currently a complex and relatively expensive process – is simplified, allowing bulk hydrogen to be transported economically and efficiently in the form of liquid ammonia.
Recent advances in solar and electrochemical technologies mean renewable hydrogen production is expected to become competitive with fossil fuel-based production, providing an opportunity to decarbonise both the energy and transport sectors while creating new export opportunities.
CSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall said he was excited by the prospect of a growing global market for clean hydrogen, and the potential for a national renewable hydrogen export industry, to benefit Australia.
“This is a watershed moment for energy, and we look forward to applying CSIRO innovation to enable this exciting renewably-sourced fuel and energy storage medium a smoother path to market,” Dr Marshall said.
“I’m delighted to see strong collaboration and the application of CSIRO know-how to what is a key part of the overall energy mix.”
BOC sales and marketing director Bruce Currie congratulated CSIRO on the successful refuelling of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, which proves the effectiveness of CSIRO’s membrane technology from generation, right through to point of use.
“BOC’s innovative engineering team is proud to be collaborating with CSIRO researchers on this technology breakthrough, as we focus on advancing the hydrogen economy and global transition towards clean hydrogen for mobility and energy,” Mr Currie said.
Following this successful demonstration, the technology will be increased in scale and deployed in several larger-scale demonstrations, in Australia and abroad.
The project received $1.7 million from the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF), which was matched by CSIRO.
In addition to its membrane technology, CSIRO is applying its expertise to all stages of the hydrogen technology chain (including solar photovoltaics, solar thermal, grid management, water electrolysis, ammonia synthesis, direct ammonia utilisation via combustion and/or fuel cells, as well as hydrogen production).
Boeing has, for the first time in aviation history, flown a manned aircraft powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
The recent milestone is the work of an engineering team at Boeing Research & Technology Europe (BR&TE) in Madrid, with assistance from industry partners in Austria, France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
"Boeing is actively working to develop new technologies for environmentally progressive aerospace products," said Francisco Escarti, BR&TE’s managing director. "We are proud of our pioneering work during the past five years on the Fuel Cell Demonstrator Aeroplane project. It is a tangible example of how we are exploring future leaps in environmental performance, as well as a credit to the talents and innovative spirit of our team."
A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that converts hydrogen directly into electricity and heat with none of the products of combustion such as carbon dioxide. Other than heat, water is its only exhaust.
A two-seat Dimona motor-glider with a 16.3 metre (53.5 foot) wingspan was used as the airframe. Built by Diamond Aircraft Industries of Austria, it was modified by BR&TE to include a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell/lithium-ion battery hybrid system to power an electric motor coupled to a conventional propeller.
Three test flights took place in February and March at the airfield in Ocaña, south of Madrid, operated by the Spanish company SENASA.
During the flights, the pilot of the experimental aeroplane climbed to an altitude of 1,000 metres (3,300 feet) above sea level using a combination of battery power and power generated by hydrogen fuel cells. Then, after reaching the cruise altitude and disconnecting the batteries, the pilot flew straight and level at a cruising speed of 100 kilometres per hour (62 miles per hour) for approximately 20 minutes on power solely generated by the fuel cells.
According to Boeing researchers, PEM fuel cell technology potentially could power small manned and unmanned air vehicles. Over the longer term, solid oxide fuel cells could be applied to secondary power-generating systems, such as auxiliary power units for large commercial aeroplanes. Boeing does not envision that fuel cells will ever provide primary power for large passenger airplanes, but the company will continue to investigate their potential, as well as other sustainable alternative fuel and energy sources that improve environmental performance.
BR&TE, part of the Boeing Phantom Works advanced R&D unit, has worked closely with Boeing Commercial Airplanes and a network of partners since 2003 to design, assemble and fly the experimental craft.
The group of companies, universities and institutions participating in this project includes:
* Austria — Diamond Aircraft Industries
* France — SAFT France
* Germany — Gore and MT Propeller
* Spain — Adventia, Aerlyper, Air Liquide Spain, Indra, Ingeniería de Instrumentación y Control (IIC), Inventia, SENASA, Swagelok, Técnicas Aeronauticas de Madrid (TAM), Tecnobit, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, and the Regional Government of Madrid
* United Kingdom — Intelligent Energy
* United States — UQM Technologies.
See the video of the test flight.