THP-E197: Toyota’s Hydrogen Future City And Criteria For Successful Hydrogen Investments

March 16, 2023 • Paul Rodden • Season: 2023 • Episode: 197

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Welcome to The Hydrogen Podcast!

In episode 197, Forbes talks hydrogen hub development, and Toyota is now using hydrogen to decarbonize their plants in Fukushima. All this on today’s hydrogen podcast.

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Paul Rodden



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Forbes talks hydrogen hub development, and Toyota is now using hydrogen to decarbonize their plants in Fukushima. All this on today’s hydrogen podcast.

So the big questions in the energy industry today are, how is hydrogen the primary driving force behind the evolution of energy? Where is capital being deployed for hydrogen projects globally? And where are the best investment opportunities for early adopters who recognize the importance of hydrogen? I will address the critical issues and give you the information you need to deploy capital. Those are the questions that will unlock the potential of hydrogen, and this podcast will give you the answers. My name is Paul Rodden, and welcome to the hydrogen podcast.

In an article in, Jake Hiller writes, hydrogen investments are everywhere, which have what it takes to succeed, global energy companies are gathered in Houston for the major Energy Conference CERAWeek. And there’s lots of buzz around hydrogen, and investments in this potentially climate friendly technology are surging worldwide, and the US Department of Energy will soon consider which clean energy projects among dozens of applicants should be seated with billions in federal spending. The projects under consideration are first of their kind of regional hubs that will bring innovative technologies like hydrogen and direct air capture together with industrial applications in areas like energy, chemicals and manufacturing, aiming to cluster clean energy supply and demand.

Private sector financing and other cost sharing mechanisms are crucial components of the proposals to unlock up to $1.25 billion per project in federal grants, making businesses and financial institutions important partners. The Hub approach presents a unique opportunity to bring energy producers, users and other stakeholders into integrated projects where they succeed or fail as one. This kind of cohesive planning enables partners to work together from the start to set high standards like center and community and environmental priorities and the industrial planning and design that can benefit businesses, people and the climate. If done right, these projects could be followed by a far larger wave of transformative investments in clean energy and industry on the path to a net zero emission economy. Last month, the author outlined three ways investors could reduce their risk when teams first began competing for the $8 billion set aside for hydrogen hubs.

The first was to focus on where the economics makes sense, and there are clear advantages for climate and communities. Hydrogen generally offers the most benefit in heavy industry and hard to electrify applications. It is not the universal solution that some believe it to be. The second was to keep climate science front and center in hydrogen investment decisions, recognizing that hydrogen is an indirect greenhouse gas that triggers potent warming effects in the atmosphere if it leaks. And the third is to support companies that understand the climate significance of hydrogen leaks and commit to high standards for system design, monitoring and repair. Now a year later, there’s more to share about how these investments can kickstart a decarbonisation revolution that prioritizes environmental and public good alongside economic objectives.

As investors seek opportunities in these projects, it will be helpful to keep in mind that hub demonstrations will win or lose not only on their economics, but also their ability to build in transparency, collaboration and peer driven accountability from the start. Doing so will better position projects for long term success in a world that increasingly holds companies accountable for their goals and local impacts. Environmental Defense Fund launched the better hubs website to highlight 10 objectives that will be critical to compete in this new landscape and foster a paradigm shift to more collaborative planning. Investors can use these goals to guide their due diligence as they seek high performing opportunities in the sector. The objectives are presented in depth on the site and are designed to foster transparent dialogue among stakeholders. For example, how will the project partner with affected communities to meet local needs, reduce pollution and other burdens, support economic development and address concerns across all stages of development? Also, how will the project engage with federal, state and local regulators to set and meet high standards for Responsible performance? And lastly, how does the project plan to responsibly and equitably source and safely optimize the use of land materials resources and local infrastructure?

If launched correctly, these hubs could kickstart decades of additional clean energy investment from governments and private investors alike. Starting off on the wrong track risks losing not just early investment dollars, but also the chance to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and build a more equitable and inclusive economy. Ok so an Interesting article in Forbes discussing the environmental, social and governance impacts on these hubs. And really one of the things that I would like to expand upon from this article is really what the hub means having a hydrogen hub, what does it really mean? It can’t just be a single location that’s making hydrogen. It also can’t just be where the consumer is located, or just the transportation of the hydrogen between the two. All of these must work in unison for the hubs to succeed.

And while I understand why the author was focused so much on the ESG aspects of these hubs, ultimately, everything will boil down to the economics. With or without government incentives, if these hubs don’t have a positive return, no one is going to invest in them. And that’s why going back to what I said at the beginning of my review, it’s important to have the hydrogen manufacturing, the consumer and the transportation all nailed down so that you can in essence guarantee your economic return for these hubs. Next, in a press release on March 9, Toyota to accelerate plant decarbonisation efforts and Fukushima using hydrogen. Toyota Motor Company has been working with Fukushima Prefecture since June of 2021. Toward the development of new future cities using both hydrogen produced in Fukushima and hydrogen related technologies developed there. As part of his efforts, Toyota has been collaborating with the DENSO Group to use hydrogen along with renewable energy to decarbonize plants.

Toyota recently developed new electrolysis equipment that produces hydrogen from electrolyzing water using the FC stack and other technology from the Mirai. The equipment will be put into operation this March at a Denso Fukushima Corporation plant, which will serve as a technology implementation venture to promote its widespread use going forward. Toyota will accelerate its efforts to build a model for the local consumption of locally produced hydrogen using electrolysis equipment to produce clean hydrogen and combust it and one of the plants gas furnaces. Furthermore, Toyota will publicize the details of its efforts to build such a hydrogen utilization model in the hopes of expanding the models implementation to many people from various industries and regions. Toyota has positioned hydrogen as a critical fuel for promoting initiatives aimed at reducing co2 emissions to contribute to achieving carbon neutrality.

In doing so it aims to promote the use of hydrogen not only through fuel cell electric vehicles FCEVs, including passenger cars, commercial vehicles and buses, but also through the widespread use of fuel cell products, such as the development and test operation of FC stationary generators. To this end, Toyota is working with various industry partners in the areas of producing, transporting, storing and using hydrogen. Toyota has been using hydrogen for FC EVs, FC stationary generators, production at plants and etc to date. It has also promoted transporting activities such as the development and manufacturing of FC trucks for hydrogen transportation. In the future, Toyota hopes to contribute to expanding options for producing hydrogen using biogas generated from livestock manure in Thailand,

in addition to developing electrolysis equipment. Now in this press release, Toyota shares some of the features of the electrolysis equipment. And that’s this the electrolysis equipment which utilizes the FC stack from the Mirai and Sora FC bus is newly developed equipment that takes advantage of both the technology Toyota has cultivated over the many years of SCE development and the knowledge and expertise it’s accumulated from a variety of usage environments around the world. And these are the features the cells used in the proton exchange membrane or PEM electrolysis stack are highly reliable, backed by the mass production and usage results of more than 7 million cells, which is enough for approximately 20,000 fuel cell vehicles. Since the first generation MRI was launched in December of 2014.

Toyota has used titanium for the stack separator which was developed for fuel cell EVs, and has been used since the first generation MRI, it was developed to improve the durability that is required of electrolysis equipment using titanium high corrosion resistance, maintaining almost the same level of performance even after 80,000 hours of operation, so that it can be safely used over a long period of time. More than 90% of FC stack components for the fuel cell EVs and fuel cell stack production facilities can be used and shared in the pem electrolysis stack production process. This allows for mass production to achieve a cost level that enables its widespread use. Furthermore, it significantly shortens the development period. By using the technology knowledge and experience accumulated over many years of fuel cell EV development. Okay, so some really good insights into what Toyota is doing with their fuel cell stack and their pem stack. And one of the reasons I key in so much on Toyota, especially for fuel cell EVs, is that during my MBA time, we studied in high detail there just in time manufacturing process.

And it seems like they’re carrying that same level of efficiency into hydrogen development, most notably in the way that they can share components between their EVs and their stack production facilities. And so with Toyota being known for dependability and reliability, you know that they will ensure that carries over into their fuel cell products.

All right. That’s it for me, everyone. If you have a second, I would really appreciate it. If you could leave a good review on whatever platform it is that you listen to Apple podcasts, Spotify, Google, YouTube, whatever it is, that will be a tremendous help to the show. And as always, if you ever have any feedback, you’re welcome to email me directly at And as always, take care. Stay safe. I’ll talk to you later.

Hey, this is Paul. I hope you liked this podcast. If you did and want to hear more. I’d appreciate it if you would either subscribe to this channel on YouTube, or connect with your favorite platform through my website at Thanks for listening. I very much appreciate it. Have a great day.