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Toyota, Air Liquide and CaetanoBus partner to accelerate the development of hydrogen mobility in Europe

Air Liquide, CaetanoBus and Toyota Motor Europe have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the aim of developing integrated hydrogen solutions. This will include infrastructure development and vehicle fleets to accelerate the expansion of hydrogen mobility for both light- and heavy-duty vehicles.

The partnership reflects the shared ambition of the three partners to contribute to decarbonizing transport and to accelerate the development of local hydrogen ecosystems for multiple mobility applications.


Concept of hydrogen ecosystem

The three companies will use their complementary expertise to address the entire value chain of hydrogen mobility, ranging from renewable or low-carbon hydrogen production, distribution and refueling infrastructure, to the deployment in different vehicle segments.

Initially the focus will be on buses, light commercial vehicles and cars, with a further aim to accelerate the heavy-duty truck segment.

By exploring joint opportunities, the three will contribute to the emergence of new hydrogen ecosystems across Europe, a key step to stimulate demand and facilitate hydrogen access for other mobility applications. This includes the infrastructure and refueling stations, as well as integrated vehicles offers (leasing and service) to customers such as taxi companies, fleet operators, local authorities, and others.

The integration of different applications and projects within a hydrogen ecosystem, where supply and demand meet, is intended to create a virtuous circle enabling the overall hydrogen infrastructure to further mature.

CaetanoBus, part of Toyota Caetano Portugal and Mitsui & Co, is a bus and chassis manufacturer in Portugal. The company has a consolidated offer in vehicles for cities and airports which is a result of its technical capacity in developing unique, customer-oriented mobility solutions. CaetanoBus is also the manufacturer of COBUS, the world’s market leader in airport bus transportation. CaetanoBus has been focusing on electric mobility since 1980.



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As noted in the study, ammonia etc could then be produced at favourable locations by renewables, and easilly transported, with overall GHG emissions less than in a BEV:

' To illustrate the practical implications of the PCER technology, comparable well-to-wheel emissions for battery electric vehicles (BEVs), internal combustion engines (ICEs) with diesel fuel, and H2 fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are provided in figs. S22 and S23 with sensitivity to electric grid carbon intensity. In the California 2050 scenario, the emissions of FCEVs (14.6 gCO2/km) using H2 produced from CH4 with PCERs including CO2 sequestration are 90% lower than those of ICE with diesel fuel (145.4 gCO2/km) and 26% lower than FCEVs using H2 from grid-powered water electrolysis (19.8 gCO2/km). NH3-based H2 can offer reduced emissions compared with on-site electrolysis for a wide range of electric grid carbon intensities, making FCEVs fueled with NH3-based H2 directly comparable to BEVs in terms of CO2 emissions (6.3 gCO2/km, a reduction of 21% compared with BEV in the California 2050 scenario). Here, NH3 is assumed produced at off-site locations with favorable renewable energy resources and transported as a liquid to the fueling station where efficient ADH and separation to H2 takes place using the PCER technology.'

In addition, since fuel cell cars purify the air, particulates from tyre wear and road dust are picked up by them, unlike in a BEV where due to their weight they can be an even bigger problem than in ICE cars, as the recent article here highlighted:

' Taking the full-life average tire emissions, that premium falls to the 1,850 times mentioned earlier, the company said.

The excess emissions under aggressive driving should alert us to a risk with BEVs: greater vehicle mass and torque delivered can lead to rapidly increasing tire particulate emissions. Half a tonne of battery weight can result in tire emissions that are almost 400 more times greater than real-world tailpipe emissions, everything else being equal. Nevertheless, it is important to say that a gentle BEV driver, with the benefit of regenerative braking, can more than cancel out the tire wear emissions from the additional weight of their vehicle, to achieve lower tire wear than an internal combustion engine vehicle driven badly.'

Not every driver will drive considerately, and even if they do, a very major problem remains.

FCEVs inherently do way better, so long as they can be done with reasonable efficiency.

Lets hope there are no 'gotcha's' in this tech, which is however from very reputable companies with established expertise in the field, and trialing in prototype now.

Roger Pham

Thanks, Davemart, for a highly informative posting above.
I would like to add that eventually pure H2 will replace Natural Gas (NG) in existing NG piping systems, and thus H2 transportation will be just as easy as transporting NG currently, and H2 will be available everywhere NG is available. The Ukraine war though very devastating, is a major boost for rapid acceleration of green H2 development to replace NG. Necessity is the mother of invention !

When H2 will be available everywhere, then it would be a no-brainer to have Plug-in FCV (PFCV) with 40-mi range on battery and the rest on H2. This would require only 1/5 to 1/10 the battery capacity of a long-range BEV, thus would greatly alleviate the constrain of battery-making resources, ease the massive investment required on battery factories, ease the resources requirement for making FC since the FC stack will be much smaller in a PFCV vs in a FCV, and would allow us to accelerate much faster toward Zero-Emission mobility utilizing Green Energy.

A PFCV would solve the long charging time of a full BEV, and would also solve the slow acceleration of a full FCV since battery can provide a surge of power much more readily than the FC stack. People living in apartments can still own a PFCV and can charge it at work using daytime solar energy, while can travel long distances on weekends using H2 energy.
Here, we can see that an-universally-available H2 network will rapidly accelerate Green and Zero-Emission Mobility.


Hi Roger.
Yep, battery FCEV combo's have been staring us in the face all the time. It is a way better use of battery resources for a start, so long as we are using lithium in the battery.
The claim has always been that hydrogen inefficiencies were prohibitive, but that for some time has been pretty clearly simply a description of in use technologies, without allowance for improvements, whilst batteries were assumed to reach ultimate levels without gliches.

As an aside, the other meme of the supposed utter intractability of piping small tricky hydrogen molecules using 21st century technology simply ignores the fact that prior to natural gas being predominant the old town gas was 50% hydrogen, and now that we are switching to hydrogen it dug up ancient memories for me, when I saw a video - unlike the blue of natural gas, the orangish flame brought back memories of the town gas powered cooking of my childhood!

We all do it, but I really think that battery only folk have been just digging themselves in deeper.


Toyota Mirai: 1900 KG
Tesla Model 3 (superior specs compared to Mirai): 1800 KG

I fail to see how the H2 cars are going to reduce tire related emissions.


Brake dust pollution should be less for fuel cell and battery electric cars


Hi peskanov

To run a fuel cell very pure air is needed, or they don't work. So they have substantial air filters built in, and suck up far more than their own car's worth of particulates and junk in the air.

You could do the same in a battery car, but it would be an add on, apart from the relatively small amount needed for the cabin air.

In contrast, it is inherent in the way fuel cells work.


I rather overstated my case above.
If you are in a city, an FCEV will leave the air cleaner than before it went by.
But presumable if you are far enough out somewhere with very low levels of pollution, then the effect moderates.

However, clearly FCEVs can do a way better job in helping to reduce air pollution, especially in cities than can BEVs.

Not that FCEVs will be universal, but having a good mix of them helps clear up particulates from BEVs.

Small low range, light BEVs of course cause far less than the big heavy ones, and to my mind the case for FCEVs for bigger, heavier, longer range cars is substantial both from a pollution POV and the very resource intensive nature of batteries.


nearly 100% of current road transit in cities is ICE based, and all of them filter as much air as an FCEV (I guess even some more, due to lower efficiency).

Tire pollution is there, therefore this air filtering is not working as stated by many "modern diesel cleans the air" advocates.

You could argue ICE filters are far inferior than FCEV ones. However, I see tire and brake particulate is 3-4 micrometres, which seems to match the cellulose filters used currently.
My guess is cars take the air far from the ground level in order to avoid sucking too much dirt, and probably tire and brake particulates tend to fall fast to ground.

Honestly, I would like to see some evidence confirming your thesis. I find it too hypothetical.


Im interrested to buy but in canada, not in europe. Here regular gasoline is 2.15$/liter and im fed-up.


Hi peskanov

I have not got information on what are the specs for air filtration in ICE cars, but my understanding is that it does not have to be great, and certainly some of the old bangers I and my peers used to dodge about in ran confortably in with very dirty air.

Here are the standards for Toyota's air filtration system:

' The Mirai, for instance, uses a few steps to clean the air. First, a catalyst filter removes dust and pollutants. It can filter out some harsher substances like sulfur dioxide, ammonia, and nitrogen dioxide. Then, a second filter captures microscopic pollutants.

The Mirai uses a HEPA filter that can capture particulate matter as small as 0.3 microns, which is essential for effective purification. After the first stage, air filters in through a PM2.5 particulate filter. Here, the car captures the more harmful particles, cleaning the air and making it more breathable.'

As far as I know the standards for ICE are nothing like as strict, although you may be able to provide us with more data and references on the point?

Apart from their use for the cabin air, BEVs don't need to filter air, so the volumes are small.

Hyundai got into trouble from the Advertising Standard's Authority here in the UK with its claims of cleaning the air:

' Hyundai showed the ASA how NEXO's air supply system to its fuel cell filtered gases and 99.9% of very fine dust, which was retained by the car, and this meant purified air was expelled from the system.

But the ASA found that because NEXO did not filter and clean particulates from its own brakes and tyres, Hyundai's claim was misleading.

"We acknowledged that there were air filtration systems in place within the Hyundai NEXO, which would filter the air before it was used in its hydrogen fuel cell. However, we understood particulates from brake and type wear would still be released into the air and would not necessarily be removed by the car, unless they happened to pass through its air filtration system.

"We understood that particulates from brake and tyre wear were a significant source of air pollution from vehicle use. Because we considered the claim “A car so beautifully clean, it purifies the air as it goes”, as it was likely to be understood by consumers, had not been adequately substantiated, we concluded the ad was misleading."'

All that is fair enough, in an absolutist way, and perhaps relevant when there are tiny numbers of fuel cell vehicles.

But if the vehicle following is also an FCEV, then clearly we would do a lot better as it cleans up the preceding cars particulates.

So the point is certainly strict, and not necessarily very relevant to overall levels of suspended particles in busy traffic where there are substantial numbers of FCEVs sweeping up.

It seems apparent that FCEVs brushing up after them will result in lower levels of particulate pollution than BEVs, unless the latter have a bolt on add on filtration system.

Perhaps ICE vehicles could have their filtration systems upgraded to provide comparable air quality, but they start from behind with their exhaust emissions before you can start thinking about the rest.


thanks for pointing out the Nexo article.

I guess the argument about FCEVs cleaning some air can be defended successfully; I am not too optimistic about tire & brake particles being cleaned by them, though.
My understanding is that you don't need HEPA filters for 3-5 micrometres particles. That would be ok for diesel particles (<1 micrometer) but we were talking just tire&brake.
IMHO both problems should be addressed at regulation level. I am pretty sure safer alternatives can be pushed, especially on brake pads technology.

Fortunately brake particles will mostly disappear in a world of electrified cars, no matter the type (hybrid, BEV, FCEV), due to regen braking.


Hi peskanov

Just to clarify, I am personally not very keen on jumping on any one technology as 'the answer'.

That happened in arguments for batteries against fuel cells, where energy efficiency was seized on as an insuperable barrier, and 'first principles' top down evaluations made.

I like criteria to be established, then let the engineers sort out how to hit the targets, using whatever they fancy.

Tire wear is clearly a major problem, but what in my view is needed is objective criteria, then you can hit it using ICE, batteries, fuel cells, whatever.

So Cummins on their big trucks are hoping to use hydrogen, with an ICE, but with a very effective air filtration system.

And there are two levels of solution, what we can do is at the mass level, so loads of fuel cell vehicles, particularly buses etc, would certainly filter and purify the air in cities, including for particulates, with the height of air intakes for vehicles providing a very effective sweeping systems, just as a freebie from the technology, happening basically because it is very tough or impossible to run fuel cells on dirty air, essentially a weakness which took decades to overcome, turned into a strength.

But IMO BEVs and ICE should be allowed to use any means available to compensate for their emissions, and we should not fixate on fuel cells.

At the level of the individual vehicle to trap its own tire wear right on the spot rather than overall city air quality, I have no idea what technical solutions may be found, perhaps some suction immediately to the rear of each individual wheel?

The issue has only recently come to prominence, with even lead in petrol only being eliminated a couple of decades ago, then the focus on exhaust emissions.

It is now clear though that one way or another tire and road dust particles have to be dealt with.

Fuel cells in this respect are in a fortunate position, as at least on the city level if not at the level of the individual car they inherently address the problem.

And of course on the other topic I brought up, the high efficiency of ammonia etc conversion to hydrogen is a massive enabler of renewables on a far greater scale than the present case.

But I personally am very far from wishing to present fuel cells as the only answer, and I am confident that batteries, especially sodium batteries, will continue to have a very big place, as may cleaned up ICE.

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