Forklift trucks will soon be the latest vehicles powered by hydrogen energy, thanks to an agreement between BOC, one of the world’s largest industrial gases companies, and Cellex Power Products, which provides fuel cell power solutions for industrial vehicles.
BOC and Cellex are working together to develop complete hydrogen supply solutions to power forklift trucks used in large distribution warehouses in North America. Cellex will supply the hydrogen power units that go into the trucks; BOC will provide the indoor hydrogen refuelling facilities.
The next round of customer trials of the hydrogen powered forklift trucks is expected to last three months and will take place at customer sites in the USA and Canada.
“These trials will show customers how hydrogen fuel cells can improve truck productivity significantly by removing the downtime and performance loss seen in battery-powered trucks, and reducing the health and safety risks associated with handling lead acid batteries,” said John Carolin, global director, hydrogen energy, BOC. “Also, hydrogen refuelling systems are considerably smaller than a typical battery recharging facility, which frees up additional floor space within the distribution centre.”
“Cellex’s power units have logged hundreds of truck days to date from its field trials program which began in February 2002,” commented Tom Hoying, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Cellex Power. “The next step in the field trials will demonstrate the safe and efficient fuelling of hydrogen at customer locations.”
BOC is a member of Chrysalix Energy Limited Partnership, the private venture capital firm that invests in early-stage fuel cell and hydrogen companies, and also is a direct investor in companies working to develop fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies.
BOC is also participating in the Compressed Hydrogen Infrastructure Program (CH2IP), a hydrogen fuelling demonstration in Surrey, British Columbia aimed at developing the infrastructure necessary to support the use of hydrogen fuel in vehicles.