Workers at Bridgestone Firestone North American tyre plant in Aiken County in South Carolina are now moving materials around on a forklift fleet powered by hydrogen instead of lead-acid batteries.
The plant is converting 22 more forklifts over to fuel cell systems this year and expects to convert the remaining fleet as equipment is retired.
‘The fuel cells are a direct replacement that last longer than batteries, take less time to change or refuel and only emit water vapour. This is certainly a step in the right direction as we work continually to minimise our impact on our environment,’ said plant manager Mike Rose.
The GenDrive fuel cell systems – supplied by Plug Power – integrate a Ballard Mark 9 SSL fuel cell with Maxwell ultra-capacitors and a on-board hydrogen storage system to produce a ‘drop-in’ replacement for the conventional industrial lead-acid battery.
The Bridgestone Firestone plant in Aiken County produces passenger and light truck tyres. The parent company, Bridgestone Corporation, is the world’s largest tyre and rubber company.