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Port of LA Rolls Out Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Freight Initiative

The Port of Los Angeles and its partners are launching what they are calling “a new era of pollution-free goods movement” with the debut of five hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) and the grand opening of two hydrogen fueling stations.

Under the $82.5 million Shore-to-Store (S2S) project, more than a dozen public and private sector partners have teamed up for a 12-month demonstration of the zero-emissions Class 8 trucks and will expand the project to include five more hydrogen-fueled heavy-duty trucks, two battery-electric yard tractors and two battery-electric forklifts.

The large-scale, multiyear demonstration is designed to advance the port’s Clean Air Action Plan goals and help California achieve statewide climate change, air quality improvement and sustainability targets for reducing greenhouse gases and toxic air emissions. The project aims to assess the operational and technical feasibility of the vehicles in a heavy-duty setting, as well as to expand infrastructure to support hydrogen use throughout the region.

“Transporting goods between our port and the Inland Empire is the first leg of this next journey toward a zero-emissions future,” Port of Los Angeles executive director Gene Seroka said. “This project is a model for developing and commercializing the next generation of clean trucks and cargo-handling equipment for the region and beyond. Just as the air we breathe extends beyond the port’s footprint, so should the clean air and economic benefits we believe this project will yield.”

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The port’s technology development partners are Toyota Motor North America, which designed and built the powertrain’s fuel cell electric power supply system; Kenworth Truck Co., which designed and built the Class 8 trucks with Toyota’s fuel cell electric system, and Shell Oil Products U.S., which designed, built and will operate the project’s two high-capacity hydrogen fueling stations.

“The innovative Shore-to-Store program is helping pave the way toward commercialization of fuel cell electric technology in the transportation sector,” said Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales at Toyota Motor North America. “By utilizing this technology, port operators like our own Toyota Logistics Services (TLS) can utilize a zero-emissions and scalable solution for CO2 reductions, which will contribute to cleaner air at the port and the surrounding communities where TLS operates. This is an important milestone in Toyota’s drive toward carbon neutrality.”

Paul Bogers, vice president of hydrogen for Shell, said the company believes hydrogen offers a promising solution to achieving net-zero emissions for immediate improvements of local air quality and for meeting long-term climate goals, especially for heavy-duty vehicles and for long-distance travel.

“That’s why we are working with truck manufacturers, fleets, governments and others to coordinate hydrogen infrastructure investments in high-traffic freight areas like the Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach, the Los Angeles basin and the Inland Empire,” Bogers said. “Our hydrogen refueling stations in Ontario and Wilmington [Del.] play a growing role in reducing truck emissions in these highly populated areas.”

The California Air Resources Board is supporting the project with a matching grant of $41.4 million. Project partners are contributing the remaining $41.4 million in financial and in-kind support.

Partners operating the trucks are Toyota Logistics Services, UPS and trucking companies Total Transportation Services and Southern Counties Express. Gas and technology firm Air Liquide is also participating as a fuel supplier. The Port of Hueneme in California will partner on drayage runs and serve as the site for testing the zero-emissions yard tractors.

Other public sector partners are the South Coast Air Quality Management District, serving as a project advisor; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which will collect and analyze project data, and the Coalition for a Safe Environment, representing the community.

The vehicles’ duty cycles will consist of local pickup, delivery and drayage near the port and short regional haul applications in the Inland Empire. Partners will study the technical feasibility of hydrogen-fueled tractors and battery-electric cargo handling equipment operating under the rigorous demands of the Southern California market. At the same time, they will measure the reduction of nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as other pollutants.

The Port of Los Angeles S2S Project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment, particularly in disadvantaged communities.

Planning for S2S began in 2018. The project is one of 16 demonstrations underway at the port to accelerate near-zero and zero-emissions solutions for moving cargo. North America’s leading seaport by container volume and cargo value, the Port of Los Angeles facilitated $259 billion in trade during 2020.