|Hydrogenics and LiftOne join forces to power a forklift with a hydrogen fuel cell. The vehicle should be able to refuel in minutes, as opposed to the hours it would take to recharge a battery.|
A "Living Lab"According to a recent Raymond press release, the $750,000 contract begins in 2007, where Raymond’s Greene, NY facility will become a “living lab,” with hydrogen fuel cell powered Raymond forklifts in the facility. Raymond will also develop the necessary infrastructure for indoor fast-fill hydrogen refueling systems, which represents new technology, since refueling systems up to this point have typically been installed outdoors.
“The goal of the program is to study the performance of hydrogen fuel in electric forklifts and to demonstrate the safety of a hydrogen-fueled forklift environment,” says the release. “Expected outcomes include a working indoor refueling system that meets all required code and standard requirements, and documented best practices for the design and application of indoor refueling systems.”
Race to the Finish
|Raymond has recently been contracted by NYSERDA to turn their Green, NY facility into a “living lab” to monitor the performance of hydrogen-powered forklifts.|
“LiftOne has engaged and received acceptance by several prominent manufacturers and distributors in the greater Columbia market areas to demonstrate the advantages of Hydrogenics HyPX
Hydrogenics boasts performance gains due to its functional subsystems, which offer benefits like quiet operation, fuel efficiency, and dynamic power response. According to company literature claims, “approximately five minutes at a hydrogen dispenser is all that is required for an operator to refuel a HyPX Power Pack, providing full performance power for at least an eight hour shift.” In addition, “one hydrogen dispenser serves 20 lift trucks and allows the elimination of battery recharging infrastructure, dramatically reducing facility space and other overhead costs.”
|Toyota’s prototype FCHV-F generates zero carbon dioxide emissions, and should be available within the next several years.|
Next PhaseToyota also made headway in recent weeks, unveiling the first prototype of a fuel cell lift truck in the industry. According to a recent release, using hydrogen as its main power source, the Toyota FCHV-F produces electricity without combustion and generates zero carbon dioxide emissions. Overall operating costs are reduced due to less fuel consumption and lower maintenance.
Maintenance is significantly lower than electric lift trucks, whose batteries must be periodically charged, refilled with water and replaced. In addition, the fuel cell hybrid system ensures constant power delivery and performance, eliminating the reduction in voltage output that occurs as batteries discharge.
Again, the distribution centers seem to have the most promise in terms of vehicle application, since they often run their lifts nearly 24 hours a day. According to Toyota, they plan to bring their fuel cell lift truck to the market within the next few years.