Electric, hydrogen power is passé, poo power is the new shiz, well at least it could be. Turns out there are several ways to put cow poo to good use - works great as fertiliser for crops, and now has the potential to one day power our cars. Toyota Motor North America, which has been confident on hydrogen as a future energy source for consumer vehicles, has a new vision - use cow poop to power electric- and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. The new plan was announced during the Los Angeles Auto Show, where the brand said that it wants to build the nation's first commercial-scale 100-percent renewable power plant in California, using manure from dairy farms in the state and capturing its methane to generate water, electricity and hydrogen.
The Tri-Gen plant will be located at the company's operations at the Port of Long Beach, where Toyota is testing its zero-emissions hydrogen fuel-cell semi truck on daily runs of around 200 miles. The plant will become operational in 2020 and is expected to generate around 2.35 megawatts of electricity and 1.2 tons of hydrogen per day.
The energy generated from this plant will be able enough to power the equivalent of nearly 2,350 average-sized homes and meet the daily driving needs of 1,500 vehicles. Not just the proof-of-concept system 'Project Portal', the plant will also fuel the new Mirai sedans being offloaded from Japan through its on-site hydrogen fueling station, one of the largest in the world.
"Tri-Gen is a major step forward for sustainable mobility and a key accomplishment of our 2050 environmental challenge to achieve net zero CO2 emissions from our operations," Doug Murtha, Toyota North America's group vice president of planning, said in a release.
Toyota now has a total of 31 hydrogen filling stations in California and it has a partnership with oil company Shell to open more of these, which certainly indicates that Toyota is seriously working towards emissions free alternatives.
Earlier this year, Toyota announced its plans to incorporate fuel cell technology in its heavy-duty trucks in order to bring down their emissions to zero. The Toyota fuel cell trucks will have a range of 322 km.