Air Products has signed an agreement with the US Defense Logistics Agency’s (DLA) Research and Development Program as the lead contractor for a two-year demonstration program to develop an indoor hydrogen fuelling station to fuel 20 hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklifts for daily warehouse operations at the Defense Distribution Depot Susquehanna Pennsylvania (DDSP).
Air Products will collaborate with General Hydrogen, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Plug Power, to retrofit 20 battery-powered Class 1 forklifts with General Hydrogen’s fuel cell power packs and provide a hydrogen fuelling station for the pilot program.
DDSP personnel will operate the fuel cell-powered forklifts alongside lead-acid battery forklifts in daily operations. Data to compare costs and operational characteristics will be collected and analysed to support the development and commercialisation of hydrogen fuel cell technologies for Department of Defense (DoD) operations.
Hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklifts need refuelling, which typically can be completed in less than five minutes, only once or twice daily, depending on use. In contrast, traditional battery-powered forklifts must be placed temporarily out of operation for battery replacement and battery recharging every four to six hours.
Air Products has been participating in similar work at a manufacturing and assembly plant in Tennessee since January 2006 and a grocery chain warehouse in Texas since March 2007.