Image Credit: Alexander Kirch/Shutterstock.com
A new partnership in the landmark smart city project from Toyota signals increasing interest and investment in the future of hydrogen energy production. ENEOS will provide hydrogen fuel and services to the Toyota Woven City project, according to a recent announcement.
Toyota Woven City Project and ENEOS Announce New Partnership
Hydrogen energy production is soon to receive significant investment and real-life testing due to a new partnership between ENEOS and the Toyota Woven City project.
Toyota and ENEOS will cooperate on projects providing hydrogen power to the smart city near Tokyo, Japan, as well as innovating and testing new hydrogen energy production and distribution systems.
ENEOS is a leading hydrogen energy company, with 45 commercial hydrogen refueling stations in major cities in Japan. The company is also developing new technologies for hydrogen energy production in-house.
ENEOS’s innovation in new hydrogen energy production is part of its commitment to meeting all of society’s mass-consumption demands for energy with hydrogen fuel. The company also works in promotion projects and is developing a CO2-free hydrogen-based supply chain.
The global automotive company, Toyota, has already invested in hydrogen and fuel cell technology. The firm believes that hydrogen will be among the most viable sources of clean energy in the future.
Toyota has used hydrogen fuel in passenger, commercial, and industrial vehicles, as well as trains, ships, and stationary generators. In addition, it has been vocal in efforts to popularize cleaner energy technology in the industry.
Toyota's Woven City: a Prototype City of the Future
Video Credit: Toyota UK/YouTube.com
Toyota Woven City Project: A Vehicle for Innovation in Hydrogen Energy Production
Under the new partnership, Toyota and ENEOS will commit to testing and demonstration of hydrogen energy production and distribution in the Woven City. The smart city setting of the project enables both companies to analyze a prototype hydrogen-based supply chain holistically from production to usage.
ENEOS will build a hydrogen refueling station near the site of the Toyota Woven City project. ENEOS will also produce “green hydrogen” – hydrogen fuel that has been produced using renewable energy sources – both for the refueling station and for Woven City’s buildings through stationary fuel cell generators that Toyota is building in the smart city.
Both companies are planning to conduct advanced research on hydrogen supply together as part of this partnership. They will use the live experiment in the Woven City demonstration hub to validate a base unit of hydrogen demand for various transport and energy uses. This can be used in the future to measure against a base level of practicality and commercial viability for hydrogen energy production and distribution projects.
Ultimately, the use of hydrogen energy in the Toyota Woven City project is intended to help in efforts to make society carbon-neutral by 2050. This is a commitment made by many governments worldwide, including in Japan, which is where both companies are located.
Smart Cities in Japan
The Toyota Woven City project is situated at the base of Mount Fuji in Susono City, Shizuoka Prefecture. The 175-acre development site near Tokyo is one of a few innovative smart city projects currently underway in Japan.
Woven Planet (a Toyota subsidiary) leads the Woven City project, which Toyota claims will promote human connection while testing new technologies and innovative infrastructure and development.
When complete, Woven City will house around 2,000 people. A total of 360 inventors, Toyota workers with young families, and retired people will move into the complex in the first phase of testing and technology development.
Technologies such as robotics, smart homes, and artificial intelligence will be tested in the Toyota Woven City project. These technologies are predicted to revolutionize domestic life in the future, as health monitoring and basic needs will all be increasingly automated in the home.
The development also features an “interwoven” network of streets dedicated to particular modes (or speeds) of transport. Pedestrian streets, mixed streets for pedestrians and personal mobility devices such as bicycles and scoots, and roads for self-driving cars will link up the city without ever sharing physical space.
The Woven City has been designed by Bjarke Ingels and his new Danish studio BIG. It is BIG’s first studio project in Japan, although the firm has a proven track record with innovative offices in Copenhagen and New York City.
To minimize the carbon footprint for the project, buildings will be made from wood with solar panels on the roofs. Native vegetation and hydroponic planting beds will integrate nature with the built development.
Energy for all the community’s requirements will come from a combination of clean sources: solar power, geothermal, and hydrogen fuel-cell technology.
Meanwhile, Panasonic has been constructing a smart city in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, since 2014. The Fujisawa Sustainable Smart town already houses around 2,000 people and has a similar focus on sustainability and innovation to Woven City.
The University of Aizu, in partnership with American-Irish consultancy firm Accenture, has been developing smart city projects in Aizuwakamatsu, Japan, since 2020. These smart cities are designed to improve the use of artificial intelligence in the provision of public services.
The smart city movement is gaining popularity in Japan, with over 50 proposals made for smart city developments from local governments in 2020 alone.
The new partnership for the Toyota Woven City project will be a considerable step in the development of this movement. Hydrogen energy production is also set to receive a significant boost from the investment, innovation, and rigorous testing that this deal represents.
References and Further Reading
“ENEOS and Toyota Come Together to Make Woven City the Most Hydrogen-Based Society” (2021). Toyota Newsroom. [Online] https://global.toyota/en/newsroom/corporate/35298631.html.
Warren, Katie (2021). “Toyota Just Started Building a 175-acre Smart City at the Base of Mount Fuji in Japan.” Business Insider. [Online] https://www.businessinsider.com/toyota-city-of-the-future-japan-mt-fuji-2020-1?op=1&r=US&IR=T.
Ravenscroft, Tom (2020). “BIG and Toyota Reveal City of the Future at Base of Mount Fuji in Japan.” Dezeen. [Online] https://www.dezeen.com/2020/01/07/big-toyota-woven-city-future-mount-fuji-japan/.