Prototype 'Cartridge' Developed by Toyota is a Way to Make Hydrogen Portable
One of the many challenges with hydrogen as a clean energy source is infrastructure, as moving and storing this potentially explosive gas is very expensive. With a new portable hydrogen cartridge prototype, Toyota and its subsidiary Woven Planet believe they may have found a solution. The concept is that they can be filled at a dedicated facility, transported to where they're needed, and then returned when your next cargo arrives.
With a length of 16 inches, a width of 7 inches, and a weight of around 11 pounds, the cartridges would be relatively small. "Portable, economical, and convenient energy that allows people to deliver hydrogen to where they live, work, and play without the use of pipes.. [and] swappable for fast replacement and quick charging," according to Toyota.
Toyota added, "They could be useful for "mobility [i.e. hydrogen cars], household applications, and many future possibilities we have yet to imagine. It didn't mention any specific uses, but it said that "one hydrogen cartridge is assumed to generate enough electricity to operate a typical household microwave for approximately 3-4 hours."
Toyota said in their press announcement that the majority of hydrogen is produced using fossil fuels and hence is not environmentally friendly. However, it believes that in the future, it will be produced with low carbon emissions and that the cartridges would help with some of the infrastructure difficulties.
Toyota aims to put this notion to the test in a variety of locations, including its "human-centred smart city of the future," Woven City in Susono City, Zhizuoka Prefecture, Japan. It's also "trying to develop a full hydrogen-based supply chain aimed at speeding and simplifying production, transportation, and daily usage," according to the company.
Hydrogen is an unfeasible fuel for automobiles, owing to its high cost and scarcity of refuelling stations. It's more feasible for trains and semi-trucks, which are more difficult to electrify. It also has potential for air travel, as batteries are too heavy to be practical in that environment. Toyota appears to be marketing the cartridges for personal and home use, but it's unclear what you'd do with them.