They will study the scaling and integration of fuel cell systems for stationary power generation.
Toyota Motor North America announced a collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to build, install and test a 1 MW proton exchange membrane fuel cell power generation system at NREL’s Flatirons Campus in Arvada, Colorado.
The 3-year, $6.5 million program is funded by the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies, which is part of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
The 1 MW system integrates multiple Toyota fuel cell modules to create a dispatchable stationary power system. In a previous partnership between the two, NREL demonstrated the use of an automotive fuel cell system to provide carbon-free power for a data center. This new test system is approximately 15 times larger than the previous test system and is capable of delivering both DC and AC power.
Toyota has been developing fuel cell technologies for more than 25 years, mainly in the field of light electric vehicles. Toyota will provide the fuel cell modules and is working with system integrator Telios to design, balance the plant, and assemble the system for delivery to NREL. Toyota has developed a control system to manage the operation of the modules and maximize the efficiency and life of the system. Toyota said the system’s simplified design makes it a suitable candidate as a replacement for conventional alternators.
“Achieving carbon neutrality requires all of us to explore new applications of zero-emission technology, including how this technology will integrate with other systems that will define the project at NREL,” said Christopher Young, group vice president of business development, fuel cells. solutions, Toyota. “The use of our modules in deployments of this scale demonstrates the scalability of Toyota’s fuel cell technology, whether it’s a single fuel cell module for a single passenger vehicle or multiple systems combined to power heavy-duty equipment.”
NREL will stress test and push the system’s operating limits to identify performance limitations and degradation. The research project will also include an evaluation of the system’s performance when integrated with energy storage systems and renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.
“We will study the scaling of PEM fuel cell systems for stationary power generation to understand the performance, durability and system integration challenges,” said Daniel Leighton, NREL research engineer and principal investigator of the project. “This fuel cell generator system also creates new megawatt-scale fuel cell research opportunities at NREL.”
The fuel cell generator is part of NREL’s Advanced Research in Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES) at the Flatirons Campus. The system includes a 1.25 MW PEM electrolyser, a 600 kg hydrogen storage system and a 1 MW fuel cell generator. The fuel cell generator system will be installed this summer, and the full system will be operational later in 2022, Toyota said.
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