The fuel cell generator developed by Toyota is taking the next step towards series production: The generator, which has been tested at the Toyota plant in Honsha since September 2019, will in future produce electrical energy for the plant of the Japanese chemical company Tokuyama.
The system uses components from the Toyota Mirai fuel cell drive and is operated with hydrogen. The new tests will run until March 2022.
The system components taken over by the Mirai include fuel cell stack, control unit and battery. The shared use of the components should make it possible to produce the high-performance generator at a reasonable cost. The system was developed by Toyota together with the subsidiary Toyota Energy Solutions.
Compared to the version that was used in the Toyota plant, the nominal power of the generator was adjusted from 100 to 50 kW; Component layout improvements simplify device maintenance. Another special feature is that the hydrogen with which the generator is operated is produced as a by-product in the Tokuyama plant. Sodium hydroxide is produced there using the chlor-alkali process.
In test operation, Toyota checks the energy efficiency of the generator – i.e. the amount of electricity generated per unit of hydrogen – as well as the stability of the power output, durability and ease of maintenance and observes how the salty sea air affects the device. In addition, it is assessed how economical the use of hydrogen, which is obtained as a by-product, is compared to the purchase from external sources.
In order to expand the possible uses for the fuel cell generator, Toyota wants to further advance research and development in this area, explore possible business models and further improve the product properties. For this purpose, the energy efficiency and durability should be further increased, the size reduced and the costs reduced. With the new tests, the two companies involved also want to contribute to the implementation of a society based on hydrogen use.
Basic specifications of the fuel cell generator
|Width / depth / height||2.9 / 1.5 / 2.7 meters|
|System components of the Toyota Mirai||Fuel cell stack, control unit, battery, air compressor|
|Rated capacity||50 kW|
|Nominal voltage / phases / frequency||210 V AC / three phases, three conductors / 50/60 Hz|
|Fuel cell type||Solid polymer electrolyte|
|Hydrogen purity||Pure hydrogen (99.97%)|
|Start-up time until the nominal power is reached||40 seconds|