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Toyota partners to advance megawatt-scale fuel cell systems

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Toyota Motor North America (Toyota) is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to build, install and evaluate a 1-megawatt (MW) proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell power generation system at NREL’s Flatirons Campus in Arvada, Colorado.

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This three-year, $6.5 million collaboration is funded in part by DOE’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and supports DOE’s “[email protected]” vision for clean hydrogen across multiple applications and economic sectors.

The 1-MW fuel cell system integrates multiple Toyota fuel cell modules into a larger system to provide responsive stationary power. Through a previous collaboration, NREL has demonstrated the use of an automotive fuel cell system to provide carbon-free power for a data center. This new system is at a significantly larger scale, generating about 15 times more power and capable of DC and AC output.

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Toyota says it leveraged its over 25 years of fuel cell development experience as it designed the 1-MW system, expanding on expertise from the light-duty fuel cell electric vehicle market. Toyota is providing the fuel cell modules and is working with systems integrator, Telios, for the design, balance-of-plant and build of the system for delivery to NREL. Toyota has developed an integrated control system to manage operation of the fuel cell modules to maximize efficiency and system life. The system demonstrates a simplified design as a drop-in replacement to a conventional generator.

The fuel cell generator is part of the Advanced Research on Integrated Energy Systems (ARIES) megawatt-scale hydrogen system being designed and commissioned at NREL’s Flatirons Campus. The flexible system — which includes a 1.25-MW PEM electrolyzer, 600-kg hydrogen storage system and 1-MW fuel cell generator — provides a platform to demonstrate direct renewable hydrogen production, energy storage, power production and grid integration at the megawatt scale.

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The fuel cell generator system will be installed this summer, and the full system will be commissioned later in 2022.

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