Hy­dro­gen-pow­ered clean, green and ef­fi­cient fork­lifts

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - PRODUCT WATCH - DE­TAILS, WWW.HYS­TER-YALE.COM

ONE OF the first hy­dro­gen- pow­ered fork­lifts ever demon­strated in Aus­trala­sia was show­cased by Hys­ter at this year’s Me­gaTrans Expo in Mel­bourne last month.

The clean, green and en­vi­ron­men­tally ef­fi­cient ma­chin­ery of­fers the per­for­mance and re­fu­elling speed of typ­i­cal con­ven­tion­ally pow­ered al­ter­na­tives, but with the sus­tain­abil­ity of elec­tric mo­tors, says the man­u­fac­turer.

The tech­nol­ogy is aimed at com­pa­nies in­ter­ested in high en­vi­ron­men­tal per­for­mance, cou­pled with the prac­ti­cal con­ve­nience and work­place ef­fi­ciency of rapid re­fu­elling for max­i­mum up­time. Global early adopters of hy­dro­gen power tech­nol­ogy in­clude Ama­zon, Wal-Mart and Coca- Cola.

Hys­ter-Yale Asia-Pa­cific Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Tony Fagg says the tech­nol­ogy has po­ten­tially very broad ap­pli­ca­tion to Me­gaTrans ex­hibitor com­pa­nies and visi­tors from in­dus­tries in­clud­ing ware­hous­ing, in­fra­struc­ture, ma­te­ri­als han­dling, man­u­fac­tur­ing, food and bev­er­age pro­cess­ing, frozen and fresh pro­duce dis­tri­bu­tion and re­tail­ing and trans­port by sea, rail and air.

“While hy­dro­gen power – like many new elec­tric mo­tive tech­nolo­gies – is not ini­tially an off-the- shelf so­lu­tion, Hys­ter will, in future years, be equipped to work in­di­vid­u­ally with dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies in dif­fer­ent in­dus­tries through­out Aus­tralia and New Zealand to de­velop in­di­vid­u­ally cus­tomised pack­ages for them that op­ti­mise its out­stand­ing advantages, in­clud­ing:

• Quick re­fu­elling from a fuel dis­penser – as quickly as three min­utes, just like fill­ing up at a petrol or diesel bowser (com­pared with an elec­tric bat­tery, which typ­i­cally takes eight hours to recharge).

• No heavy batteries to load, un­load or recharge – advantages that de­liver safety and up­time ben­e­fits.

• No-fade elec­tric en­gine per­for­mance – the amount of en­gine power avail­able from hy­dro­gen- pow­ered elec­tric drives is the same from the mo­ment they are started, un­til they need re­fu­elling.

• No nasty emis­sions for in­door or out­door use – just a few millil­itres of wa­ter col­lected from the fuel cell and re­moved as the ve­hi­cle is re­fu­elled. “Hys­ter’s hy­dro­gen- pow­ered fork­lift ranges – which com­ple­ment our broader glob­ally re­spected ma­te­ri­als han­dling tech­nolo­gies – are ca­pa­ble of util­is­ing durable high- per­for­mance Nu­vera fuel cell sys­tems, which are fast-fu­elled power op­tions that can re­place lead-acid batteries in Class I,

II, and III elec­tric lif t trucks. The Nu­vera fuel cell sys­tem is de­signed and built to pro­vide cus­tomer re­turn on in­vest­ment over the life­cy­cle of the prod­uct,” says Fagg.

“The new hy­dro­gen fuel cell- pow­ered fork­lifts can be re­fu­elled in as quick as three min­utes, which saves sig­nif­i­cant down­time com­pared with bat­tery­op­er­ated fork­lifts that can take up to eight hours to recharge. This means the whole fleet can be used to its fullest po­ten­tial – max­imis­ing prod­uct and op­er­a­tor util­i­sa­tion – and pro­vide gains in up­time and pro­duc­tiv­ity.”


Fuel cell ve­hi­cles are fu­elled by a hose from a dis­penser in the same way that typ­i­cal work ve­hi­cles and cars and trucks are fu­elled at a petrol or diesel bowser. The hy­dro­gen dis­penser pumps hy­dro­gen into the cell’s hy­dro­gen stor­age tank. When the fuel cell is sup­plied with hy­dro­gen and oxy­gen, it will gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity to power the fork­lift’s elec­tric mo­tor.

In the process of the hy­dro­gen fuel’s con­ver­sion to elec­tric­ity through a chem­i­cal re­ac­tion in the cell, elec­tric­ity is pro­duced, and this is used to power the elec­tric mo­tor that drives the ve­hi­cle. The process is very clean be­cause, un­like a con­ven­tional fos­sil fuel en­gine, a fuel cell doesn’t burn the hy­dro­gen. In­stead, it’s fused chem­i­cally with oxy­gen pro­duc­ing elec­tric­ity and wa­ter, which is the pri­mary emis­sion from the ve­hi­cle giv­ing the ve­hi­cle clean, green cre­den­tials.


The sus­tain­abil­ity de­liv­ered by Hys­ter’s hy­dro­gen fuel cell- pow­ered ve­hi­cles may be ap­pli­ca­ble to an en­tire range of future-fo­cussed in­dus­tries, in­clud­ing ma­te­ri­als han­dling, man­u­fac­tur­ing, ware­hous­ing, dis­tri­bu­tion and pro­cess­ing op­er­a­tions. It is also di­rectly rel­e­vant to ma­jor re­sources com­pa­nies (such as min­ing, oil and gas) that are seek­ing to re­duce their op­er­a­tions’ en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print in re­mote and sen­si­tive ar­eas, as well as en­vi­ron­men­tally aware util­i­ties in­clud­ing lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, en­ergy, wa­ter and waste wa­ter engi­neer­ing fa­cil­i­ties and trans­port and au­to­mo­tive ser­vice fa­cil­i­ties where work­ers may be ex­posed to en­vi­ron­men­tal and work­place OH&S haz­ards.

Re­quire­ments es­sen­tial to the suc­cess of the use of this tech­nol­ogy in­clude a steady, cost­ef­fec­tive sup­ply of hy­dro­gen, which can be de­liv­ered, gen­er­ated on- site or em­ployed in a fleet dis­penser sys­tem.

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