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How are our environmental goals changing the world today?

Toyota supports the world’s first hydrogen-powered boat

Launched in 2017 in the French port of Saint-Malo, Energy Observer is the first autonomous hydrogen vessel that emits no greenhouse gases or fine particles. This electrically propelled vessel of the future operates by using a mix of renewable energies and a system that produces carbon-free hydrogen from seawater.

As hydrogen is at the heart of the Energy Observer project, it gave Toyota Motor Europe a good reason to become a project partner. We are proud to be part of the 6 years journey around the world to test the vessel under different climate conditions.

FCEV trucks move goods emission-free in Los Angeles

An outstanding example of how FCEV technology can be successfully applied to heavy-duty trucks is an innovative logistics project that started up in the Port of Los Angeles. This zero-emission hydrogen freight project is supported by Toyota, amongst other partners. It will incorporate 10 heavy-duty fuel cell electric trucks and four zero-emission cargo handling units.

Also, two new fuelling stations will join the three existing ones located at Toyota facilities around Los Angeles. This large-scale project will make a significant contribution to the zero-emission “shore to store” transfer of goods throughout the Los Angeles basin and ultimately to locations further inland. It will help reduce annual exhaust emissions by 465 tons of greenhouse gases

Producing hydrogen fuel from thin air

It sounds like magic: you put a dedicated device in contact with air, expose it to sunlight and it starts producing fuel, for free! That is the basic idea behind research being conducted by the Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER) in association with Toyota in Europe. The partnership aims to develop a device that absorbs water vapour and splits it into hydrogen and oxygen using the sun’s energy.

To date, DIFFER and Toyota in Europe have demonstrated in a joint feasibility study that the principle does indeed work. The researchers developed a novel solid-state photoelectrochemical cell that was able to first capture water from ambient air and then generate hydrogen upon illumination by sunlight.

In the next stage of the project, the partners intend to significantly improve the set-up. This will involve applying state-of-the-art materials and optimizing the system architecture to increase both the water intake and the amount of sunlight that is being absorbed. When this hurdle has been overcome, the research will shift toward upscaling the technology.