Toyota Adapts Hydrogen Fuel Cell for Stationary Power
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Toyota wowed the automotive world last year when it introduced the first production-level hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle at the Tokyo Motor Show. Since the unveiling, the Japanese automaker has been preparing Western markets to start taking shipments of the revolutionary vehicle next year. In the meantime, Toyota is not sitting around waiting to see whether the car will be a commercial success or not – the company has taken its hydrogen fuel cell technology to the next level by adapting it for stationary use. Out in Los Angeles, Toyota operates a six-building campus hosting a number of very important sales operations for the North American market. The climate of Southern California is such that the facility experiences extreme power needs during peak summer months. In order to compensate, the company built a 1.1 MW hydrogen fuel cell and installed it on the campus. The result is a power cell that can produce up to half the power needed within the six buildings on any given day. Toyota says that is enough energy to power 765 American homes. The strength of the system is how easily it can be switched on and off to compensate for heavy loads. It is an easy next step to automate the system so that it requires no manual control. When load reaches a certain level, the power cell will automatically kick in to balance things out. When consumption dips below peak load, the system would shut off. Toyota has proven, at least in concept, that their hydrogen fuel cell has wider applications than just electric cars. The company is now many strides ahead of the competition in developing reliable and powerful sources of electricity that do not use fossil fuels. It will be exciting to see where this technology goes in the near future.