NAGOYA -- Toyota Motor will begin tests of hydrogen as a power source at production facilities as early as this year, aiming to tame rising carbon dioxide emissions by expanding on its experience as the developer of the first fuel cell car on the market.
Solar and wind power generated in Fukuoka Prefecture will be used to split water molecules, producing hydrogen that will be stored and tapped to fill fuel cells as needed.
Heating equipment and air-conditioning account for roughly 60% of CO2 emissions from the production process. Toyota subsidiary Toyota Motor Kyushu will power air conditioners and forklifts with hydrogen, and aims to use it in the paint-drying process as well. Excess hydrogen can be used in the Mirai fuel cell car.
Toyota will join hands with Fukuoka Prefecture and Kyushu University, which have studied the cost-effectiveness of hydrogen power. The Japanese automaker will take advantage of their know-how, targeting full-fledged adoption of the technology at the Mirai plant in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, by 2020.
The company has slashed CO2 emissions from its vehicles with the Mirai as well as hybrid vehicles. But total emissions from its factories have increased roughly 10% since 2001 as output has grown.
Under the Paris climate accord reached in December, Japan pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26% from fiscal 2013 levels by fiscal 2030. With businesses under pressure to do their part, other companies may follow Toyota's lead.