Last Friday I had talked about the building of a hydrogen corridor from West Virginia to Pittsburgh, PA. What I had neglected to mention, however is that at the Yeager Airport in Charleston, WV one of the test vehicles will be a hydrogen powered forklift.
Now, many might not find the idea of hydrogen forklifts nearly as exciting as the prospect of hydrogen autos. But, the fact is that hydrogen forklifts are being sold commercially now whereas hydrogen autos are still a few years away.
Hydrogen forklifts solve a problem in industrial settings. Since forklifts may spend most of their time indoors, this makes indoor air pollution a concern, especially with diesel-fueled forklifts. Also, forklifts powered by batteries usually have to be charged overnight.
Hydrogen forklifts offer a clean, non-polluting, quick-fill solution. At least this is what food retailer H-E-B Corporation (a $15 billion company) in San Antonio, Texas believes as they have just bought 14 Nuvera PowerEdge fuel cell systems, a PowerTap hydrogen generator and a hydrogen station to run 14 class II forklifts.
Another food retailer that believes fumes and food don’t mix, is Wegmans Food Markets in Pottsville, PA. Wegmans has just received a $1 million grant from the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) for hydrogen powered pallet jacks and reach trucks.
According to Wegmans, “By converting the lift equipment in just the produce area of its facility to hydrogen fuel cells, autobon emissions will be reduced by an amount equivalent to removing 134 autos off the road each year.”
Little by little, hydrogen vehicles are starting to creep into the cultural awareness. Whether its hydrogen powered forklifts and other lift equipment, H2 transport vehicles at airports, hydrogen powered unmanned aerial vehicles or fuel cell lease vehicles like the Honda Clarity, hydrogen vehicles are starting to spread their presence throughout the U. S. and other countries. It’s only a matter of time before they are everywhere.