One of the key issues with hydrogen as a clean energy source is infrastructure. It is expensive to move around and since hydrogen is an explosive gas, storing it comes with its set of challenges. However, Toyota and Woven Planet, its subsidiary, believe they may have a solution with their prototype of a new portable hydrogen cartridge.
The idea behind the prototype is that you can fill them up at a dedicated facility, transport them where needed, and return them when you receive your next shipment.
Toyota and Woven Planet will conduct PoC Proof of Concept experiments in various locations, including Woven Metropolis, a human-centered smart city of the future being built in Susono City, Shizuoka Prefecture.
Toyota and Woven Planet are researching a range of feasible carbon-neutral pathways, with hydrogen being one. Hydrogen has a lot of advantages. When hydrogen is consumed, no carbon dioxide (CO2) is produced. Additionally, when hydrogen is created utilizing renewable energy sources like wind, sun, geothermal, and biomass, CO2 emissions are reduced during the manufacturing process. Hydrogen can be utilized as a combustion fuel and a source of electricity in fuel cell devices.
According to Toyota, these could benefit “mobility (i.e., hydrogen automobiles), domestic uses, and many future possibilities we have yet to envision.”
“One hydrogen cartridge is anticipated to create enough electricity to operate a typical household microwave for around 3-4 hours,” it claimed, without pinpointing any specific uses.
With a length of 16 inches, a width of 7 inches, and a weight of around 11 pounds (5 kg), the cartridges would be compact. “Portable, economic, and convenient energy allows people to deliver hydrogen to where they live, work, and play without pipes and swappable for fast replacement and quick charging,” said Toyota.
Benefits of Using Hydrogen Cartridges
- Portable, inexpensive, and handy energy that allows hydrogen to be delivered to people’s homes, workplaces, and recreational activities without the use of pipes
- Swappable for a quick recharge and easy replacement
- The volume versatility enables a wide range of everyday uses.
- Small-scale infrastructure can provide energy to rural and non-electrified locations while also being promptly deployed in the event of a disaster
Toyota recognizes in their press announcement that the majority of hydrogen is produced using fossil fuels and hence is not environmentally friendly. However, it believes that it will be produced with low carbon emissions in the future and that the cartridges would help with some of the infrastructure difficulties.
What’s Next for Toyota’s Portable Hydrogen Cartridge?
Toyota aims to put this notion to the test in various locations. It’s also “trying to develop a full hydrogen-based supply chain aimed at speeding and simplifying production, transportation, and daily usage,” according to the company.
“Woven City will use hydrogen cartridges to explore and test a variety of energy uses, including mobility, domestic applications, and many future possibilities we have yet to envisage.
“We will continue to increase mobility over time by constantly inventing more practical applications for hydrogen cartridges in collaboration with inventors and individuals who live in and around Woven City. We will continue to develop the hydrogen cartridge itself in future Woven City demonstrations, making it easier to use and boosting the energy density.”
Toyota also added that the project’s ultimate goal is to create a carbon-neutral society where everyone has access to clean energy, initially in Japan and later globally. By performing human-centered demonstrations in and around Woven City, Toyota and Woven Planet hope to build best practices for bringing clean hydrogen energy into daily living.
“These hands-on experiences will help us figure out how to turn hydrogen into a known, well-used, and well-loved energy source,” noted the company.