Here’s How Shell and Toyota are Looking to Renewable Energy to Create a More Sustainable Supply Chain
The world is now seeing the tangible effects of climate change, and most people have accepted that humans have caused possibly irreparable damage to this planet. This is leading some of the world’s biggest brands to find ways of reducing the ecological impact of their operations in the hope of reversing the damage.
The California Energy Commission
The West Coast of America has always been slightly ahead of the curve when it comes to progressive ideas. All the way back in 1974, the California Energy Commission (CEC) was set up by the state’s administration to reduce energy costs and environmental impacts of energy use. Today, the commission’s main remit is to find ways of reducing mankind’s reliance on fossil fuels, and to make renewable options more practical and readily available for all.
In December 2017, the CEC introduced the “Advanced Freight Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment.” The deployment falls under the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Programme, and offers a competitive grant opportunity for companies who are looking to deploy renewable energy solutions in the freight industry. A total of $22,257,799 was available in the fund to successful applicants.
Shell and Toyota
The recipients of $8 million of the fund was Equilon Enterprises LLC – doing business as Shell Oil Products US (Shell), and Toyota – for its plans to build a hydrogen facility for freight at the Port of Long Beach. The facility will take the form of the world’s first ever hydrogen refuelling station for freight trucks.
"We greatly appreciate the CEC for recognising the importance of this breakthrough project at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles," said Director of Advanced Technology Vehicles for Toyota North America, Craig Scott. "Toyota continues to demonstrate that fuel cells are one of the most innovative and sustainable technologies for light and heavy-duty vehicle electrification. This initiative with Shell further strengthens our combined commitment to hydrogen as a viable transport fuel and complements our retail station project in Northern California."
The facility is expected to encourage the use of hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks in the area, as the main barrier to the uptake of these zero emission vehicles is the ready availability of locations at which they can be refuelled. If the facility gains final approval, Shell will be responsible for building, owning, and operating the hydrogen station, which will be located at Toyota’s logistics services centre at the Port of Long Beach.
Powered by Hydrogen
The hydrogen for the new station will be sourced from Toyota’s own Tri-Gen Facility (due to be completed in 2020), which is also located at the same port. The Tri-Gen Facility will be the world’s first megawatt-scale carbonate fuel cell power generation plant and hydrogen fuelling station – capable of generating approximately 2.35 megawatts of electricity and 1.2 tons of hydrogen each day. This is enough to power roughly 2,350 average sized homes, and 1,500 vehicles.
"This station will help the hydrogen-fuelled freight sector to flourish in California," said Hydrogen General Manager at Shell, Oliver Bishop. "Hydrogen offers a promising path for decarbonizing transport, particularly the heavy-duty sector where there are few alternatives to conventional fuel. Shell and Toyota will combine their expertise to deliver an effective alternative fuel for Californian freight."
The ongoing march of climate change has indeed been brought into sharp focus over the last few years. Not only can the effects be witnessed as historically mild climates, and more extreme weather cycles, but also in more aggressive examples if weather. From the wildfires which have been witnessed in Mediterranean Europe in 2018 and copper pollution exacerbating the effects of oceanic acidification biodiversity, to less serious (depending on your perspective) issues such as decreases in global beer supplies due to the extreme heat and drought decimating barley production, climate change is transforming the world before our eyes.
The jury is still out on whether it is even possible to reverse the effects of man-made climate change, but one thing is clear – if mankind does not take steps to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, these symptoms are only going to intensify as time goes on. This is especially true when it comes to logistics and supply chains as these industries rely on more transport solutions, and therefore fuel, than almost any other.
The environmental impact of supply chains is set to be a hot topic at LogiChem 2019, in March, at the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, Amsterdam. Download the agenda today for more information and insights.