Toyota, Kenworth and Shell Partner on Port of L.A. Fuel-Cell Project

September 17, 2018 by Susan Carpenter, @CarpenterWheels

Moving freight with diesel trucks between L.A.’s port and distant warehouses has long contributed to Southern California’s poor air quality.

But a new collaboration between the Port of Los Angeles, Toyota Motor Corp., Kenworth Truck Co. and Shell Oil Co. hopes to change that.

The Port of Los Angeles said Friday it received $41 million from the California Air Resources Board and $41.5 million from Toyota, Kenworth and Shell, for zero-emission and near zero-emission freight facilities.

The so-called “Shore to Store” Project will put 10 new zero-emission fuel-cell-electric Class 8 trucks on the road to move cargo between L.A. and destinations hundreds of miles away, including central California.

The Port of Los Angeles is demonstrating that it doesn’t need to choose between environmental stewardship and economic growth, said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The funding will help put zero emissions goods movement within reach, Garcetti said.

Twenty percent of all cargo coming into the U.S. runs through the L.A. port, making it the country’s largest by cargo volume and container value. Last year it handled $284 billion in cargo. About 10,000 trucks come through the L.A. and Long Beach port complex each day.

Kenworth is developing the Shore to Store trucks in partnership with Toyota – a pioneer in hydrogen fuel cell technology. The trucks will be built on the Kenworth T680 platform.

Hydrogen fuel cells emit nothing but water vapor and are more efficient than diesel trucks. They use gaseous hydrogen that takes about the same time to fuel as diesel and are lighter weight and quicker to refuel than battery electrics.

A benefit to hydrogen is its flexibility, said Morry Markowitz, president of the Fuel Cell Hydrogen and Energy Association.

In addition to transportation, it can be used to power buildings and the grid, Markowitz said.

The private-public project will scale up in phases. After the trucks are developed and put into service, Shell will develop two new large capacity heavy-duty hydrogen fuel stations – one near the Los Angeles  port in Wilmington and another in the warehouse center of Ontario, Calif., 56 miles inland. Together with three similar stations that already exist around the L.A. area, they will form a heavy-duty hydrogen fueling network for the region.

The new stations will be capable of generating more than a ton of 100 percent renewable hydrogen per day, according to Shell.

The final phase of the project will be expanding the zero-emissions technology to use in off-road and warehouse equipment, including forklifts at Toyota’s port warehouse.

“Toyota believes that zero-emissions fuel-cell-electric technology, and the scalability, throughput speed, and driving range advantages of its hydrogen fuel, has the potential to become the powertrain of the future – and the capabilities of fuel-cell-electric heavy trucks are a big reason why,” Toyota Motor North America Executive Vice President Bob Carter said in a statement.

Three years ago, Toyota introduced its Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Fuel stacks from the vehicle were repurposed to power an experimental Toyota heavy-duty truck, a program dubbed Project Portal.

The fuel cell truck was put into service last year and has so far logged more than 10,000 miles of testing at the Port of Long Beach and in real-world drayage operations.

Toyota has since launched a new truck, the Beta model, which incorporates improvements in space for the fuel cell system components and a larger more efficient standard diesel radiator.

Toyota said that truck can carry 35,000 pounds of gross weight and takes just 8.9 seconds to travel 1/8th mile compared with the 14.6 seconds it takes a diesel-powered truck to reach the same distance.

Read Next: Here’s How Toyota Improved Project Portal, its Fuel Cell Truck

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