At Toyota we believe that hydrogen as a fuel has a potential far beyond just powering cars. We also see it as a fuel for the whole society. The key element in transforming our carbon-based world into a hydrogen based one. For example, we have numerous renewable energy initiatives at our factories throughout the world (photovoltaic panels in the UK through to solar walls in France), but now we have started using hydrogen as an energy source at our plant in Honsha (Japan).
Toyota’s “thing” as you probably know if you are reading this is “Kaizen”, Japanese for continuous improvement. Honsha is forging ahead with this philosophy in terms of environmental performance with the installation of fuel cells to provide renewable energy to the plant buildings. We’ve also added an energy management system that combines solar power generation with electrical storage made by recycling used batteries from Prius hybrid vehicles.
We even go as far as using any excess thermal energy generated by the fuel cells in the air-conditioning system!
It’s a slightly convoluted diagram but you get the general idea – clean energy on the left is stored in recycled Prius batteries in the middle, cleverly managed, and then used to power the plant building on the right.
We’re going to monitor the results of the installation and see how the pure hydrogen fuel cells perform, with the intention of rolling out this technology to other buildings on the same site.
Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050
And this is not just a one-off activity. We are in the “environmental improvement business” for the long game which was reinforced recently when we set out our 6 Environmental Challenges back in October 2015 – an environmental roadmap for the next 35 years!
Specifically this initiative demonstrates what is set out in Challenge #3 “Plant Zero CO2 Emissions”.
We shall reduce the amount of energy used at our plants as well as increase the use of renewable sources therefore leading to an overall reduction in CO2 emissions. Honsha has a special place in the heart of Toyota employees as it is the birthplace of manufacturing at Toyota, when production of the “G1” large truck started way back in 1938. A fantastic machine I’m sure you will agree.
Innovation was there at the beginning and it continues today, Kaizen ensures that we move steadily forwards with initiatives that truly realize zero CO2 emissions!