A week ago I talked about how Central Grocers in Joliet, Illinois were buying 220 Yale hydrogen fuel cell lift trucks to move products around their new facility. Air Products (now laying off a large block of workers) and Plug Power are collaborating on this project.
But, now Crown Equipment Corporation is also jumping on the fuel cell lift truck bandwagon. In fact, they see hydrogen-powered lift trucks as ideal for large warehouses with two or three shift operations.
According to R&D manager Eric Jensen, “Hydrogen refueling only takes about two minutes while replacing a depleted battery can take as long as 40 minutes three times a day. Then factor in eight hours of charging another eight hours for cooling and three-shift operation can result in three batteries per lift truck.”
Plug Power is also part of the development team on this project. In addition, Canada’s Hydrogenics and the Deka / Nuvera engineers are also onboard. Jensen says that 70-percent of the cost of running a large warehouse is due to labor and hydrogen fuel cell lift trucks will cut costs significantly over similar battery operated vehicles.
Over a year ago, Wal-Mart completed testing of its fuel cell powered pallet trucks. It’s only a matter of time until other large warehouse facilities see the wisdom of not only going green to improve indoor air quality (over diesel power), but going hydrogen to help save in labor costs.