FASTECH Advances Hydrogen Energy Generation in Long Beach, CA Tri-gen Plant

Advancing Sustainability
The Tri-gen plant reduces reliance on fossil fuels, embracing cleaner energy sources for transportation and power generation.
Creating Local Fuel Supply
The plant will offer constant fuel supply to the adjacent Shell refueling station, eliminating reliance on truck-delivered hydrogen and improving station uptime.
Promoting Water Conservation
The Tri-gen plant produces 5,300 liters of filtered water daily for Toyota's vehicle processing facility, used for washing cars before wholesale distribution.
No Lost-Time Incidents
The project had no lost-time safety incidents over the approximately two-year period FASTECH was on site.

Expanding Hydrogen Production in Southern California

FASTECH is proud to be the contractor of record in the successful completion of a groundbreaking Tri-gen project in Long Beach, California.

Owned, built and operated by Fuel Cell Energy (FCE), this first-of-its-kind facility revolutionizes sustainable energy production and supply at Toyota Logistics Services (TLS) Long Beach, supporting facility operations with 100% renewable energy. The system produces 2.3 MW of renewable electricity, part of which supports the processing of 200,000 new vehicles annually.

Tri-gen – a promising method of generating hydrogen – offers more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly solutions than existing alternatives. The Tri-gen project enables local hydrogen provisioning while generating renewable power, water, and heat products. In addition, it has generated abundant data and insights on expeditious and cost-effective design and construction of such plants.

Project Benefits and Implications

Though molten carbonate fuel cells (MCFCs) are not new technology, the Tri-gen project links the theoretical research and development of MCFC technology and its practical application. The technology utilized in this Tri-generation plant appeals to various industrial customers, such as those at ports, manufacturing facilities, and transportation/fleet hubs.

Whereas past projects have been focused on “co-generation” of heat and power, the Tri-gen project expands on the capability of MCFCs to produce hydrogen as a byproduct of the process, in a cleaner way than combustion-based steam-methane reformation technology.

This project serves as a stepping stone for the development of more multifaceted “poly-generation” plants that may be able to capture and re-use excess heat and CO2, in addition to producing electricity, water, and hydrogen.

It necessitates relatively low natural gas and water flows as incoming utilities, both widely available throughout the country. By harnessing natural gas and water, these users can make strides towards carbon neutrality, producing electricity, hydrogen, and other potential byproducts of the MCFC process to reduce their dependence on grid power and delivered hydrogen gas.

Toyota’s on-site facility now has cleaner and reliable sources of electrical power and hydrogen gas. It eliminates the need for hydrogen to be trucked in from other production facilities and dramatically improves their hydrogen station uptimes.

Hydrogen, water, power, natural gas

The Project

FCE contracted FASTECH to provide general contracting services for the plant's construction, taking the plant’s development from engineering through building to startup and commissioning. FASTECH managed in-house and subcontracted resources to complete site grading, concrete slab construction, structural steel erection, crane operations, and all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing interconnects to make the plant operational.

The Tri-gen facility utilizes renewable biogas to produce hydrogen, electricity, and water. This 2.3 MW fuel cell plant fully powers the site, providing a reliable source of hydrogen for vehicle fueling at an adjacent Shell station, diminishing emissions at the port, and exporting up to 3.2MW surplus electricity back to the Southern California power grid.

Additionally, the platform generates clean water as a secondary output, thereby reducing the port's water consumption in a region affected by drought. This is the first time these components come together in a facility anywhere in the world.

The project goals included:

  • Providing an On-Site Fueling Source
    The Tri-gen plant provides hydrogen gas to a nearby Shell HDV station, enabling it to fuel 10,000 Toyota Mirai passenger vehicles and a fleet of 20+ Class 8 fuel cell electric trucks for port operations annually.
  • Producing and Distributing Green Hydrogen
    The Tri-gen plant converts renewable biogas into hydrogen, electricity, and water with low carbon emissions and no onsite transportation expenses. The Shell station receives an abundant daily supply (1,200 kg) of newly generated H2 via a pipeline, dispelling concerns about long-distance hydrogen transport in polluting trucks.
  • Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
    The Tri-gen project strives to cut greenhouse gas emissions at the port, especially CO2, a significant climate change contributor. By transitioning to hydrogen fuel cells and implementing carbon-neutral practices, the plant seeks to minimize the carbon footprint associated with conventional energy generation methods.

Project Role: FASTECH

FASTECH was hired by FCE as the contractor of record for the Long Beach Tri-gen plant and played a pivotal role in the successful implementation of the project. With our extensive experience and expertise in hydrogen fueling infrastructure solutions, we provided end-to-end engineering, procurement, construction, testing, and maintenance services to ensure the project's success.

Throughout the project, FASTECH demonstrated flexibility and adaptability, responding to the unique challenges presented by pioneering technology. Our team continually developed and adjusted strategies in real time, ensuring a seamless integration of the Tri-gen system. Safety was of paramount importance, and we maintained a secure, safe working environment, resulting in zero lost-time Incidents throughout the project.

Collaborating with Toyota and FuelCell Energy, we harnessed the combined pool of expertise, resources, and research capabilities to push the boundaries of sustainable energy solutions. By bringing together cutting-edge technology, we successfully demonstrated the viability and benefits of hydrogen fuel cells and Tri-generation technology, setting new standards for the industry.

“FASTECH is proud to have been a member of the team that completed construction of the first ever Fuel Cell-based Tri-generation plant, and looks forward to leading the transition of energy infrastructure to a greener future.”

– Jeff Latham, Senior Project Manager

Project Role: Toyota

Toyota Logistics Services (TLS) is the Tri-gen facility’s end user. TLS is a 120+ acre facility with a 155,000 square foot post-production building and a 5200 square foot private car wash facility. In addition, the site has a 12-lane conventional fueling island and two hydrogen refueling facilities.

The new Tri-gen facility will be the primary supplier of electrical power for offices and vehicle processing buildings, reverse osmosis (RO) water for the car wash, and hydrogen gas for the refueling facility.

Project Role: FuelCell Energy

Toyota engaged FuelCell Energy to design, engineer, construct, and commission the new Tri-gen facility. The facility uses FCE’s proprietary molten carbonate fuel cell technology to convert renewable natural gas to electricity, clean water, and hydrogen gas with minimal greenhouse gas emissions.

The Technology

Tri-generation technology is a groundbreaking advancement in the field of energy generation, serving as a catalyst for sustainable development and carbon-neutral solutions. This innovative technology combines the principles of fuel cell systems, carbon capture, and hydrogen fueling to create a unique and highly efficient energy generation process.

By synergistically harnessing these three components, Tri-generation achieves a remarkable level of energy efficiency, flexibility, and sustainability. This integrated approach has the potential to transform the energy landscape and provide a clean and reliable source of power for a wide range of applications.


How Tri-generation Works

Tri-gen technology reforms natural gas or renewable biogas inside a clean fuel cell into hydrogen, which reacts electrochemically with air to generate power and heat. This process can produce additional hydrogen at a reduced cost and with significantly lower emissions.

Tri-generation works through a sequential process that involves three main steps:

  • Fuel cell power generation
  • Carbon capture
  • Hydrogen fuel creation

Fuel cell power generation: In the fuel cell power generation phase, a fuel source (in this case, renewable biogas) is converted into electricity using a high-temperature fuel cell system. This process produces electrical power with minimal emissions and high efficiency.

The waste heat generated during the power generation process is captured and utilized for thermal applications (in this case, increasing overall plant efficiency). This efficient heat recovery mechanism enhances the overall energy utilization and reduces the carbon footprint.

Carbon capture: The system also captures CO2 emissions produced during the power generation phase and prevents their release into the atmosphere. Through advanced carbon capture technologies, a significant amount of CO2 is separated and can be stored or utilized for other purposes.

Hydrogen fuel creation: Tri-generation utilizes the excess electricity generated by the fuel cell system and proprietary pressure swing adsorption technology to produce high-purity hydrogen gas.

Hydrogen is stored and used as a clean energy source for Toyota’s fuel cell vehicles, further reducing the dependence on fossil fuels and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.

The Results

By breaking new ground in hydrogen energy generation, the Tri-gen project at the Port of Long Beach serves as a beacon of innovation, inspiring similar initiatives worldwide. FASTECH is proud to have been a part of this pioneering project, and we remain committed to driving the transition towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy landscape.

By the Numbers

150,000+

man hours of on-site labor

0

Lost-time incidents

250

tons of structural steel

600+

cubic yards (CY) of concrete

80,000lbs

reinforcing steel

1,000,000

feet of cable

Several thousand feet of process piping and tubing

FASTECH: Your Alternative Energy Solutions Partner

Whether you’re already committed to selling alternative fuel or planning to transition in the future, choosing the right EPC partner for your hydrogen, CNG, or LNG fueling station is a significant business decision.

At FASTECH, we have over two decades of experience in the energy industry. We specialize in end-to-end solutions, from engineering and construction to ongoing maintenance and testing for many types of alternative fuel, including hydrogen, CNG, LNG, and propane. To date, we’ve built more hydrogen stations in California than anyone else.

To start designing your renewable energy infrastructure project, contact us today.

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