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Hydrogen Fuel Cell Lift Trucks

By GreenCompany | June 22, 2010

Those concerned about the environment have been waiting for announcements like this and one finally seems to have happened, and substantial enough to matter. Walmart Canada has awarded Air Liquide a contract to supply all the needed hydrogen and related infrastructure to power their new hydrogen powered fuel cell lift trucks for a new distribution centre in Alberta.

Anybody who has worked in a factory or transit warehouse knows how much pollution even a propane-powered lift truck can give off, so having a fleet of greener hydrogen powered lift trucks is a great step towards a greener transportation future. Not only are fuel cell forklift trucks among the fastest growing part of the hydrogen energy market in Canada, they give users an edge over battery powered trucks in terms of productivity and greenhouse gas emissions.

Walmart’s distribution centre in Alberta will feature these new green lift trucks along with the hydrogen filling station, which will be maintained by Air Liquide. This is the first full commercial application and contract of hydrogen energy in Canada, and the first for Air Liquide. The hydrogen system they are building for the distribution centre should more than meet demand as it offers indoor dispensers which will be able to supply enough hydrogen to power the lift fleet. Each truck will be able to take on a load of hydrogen in just two minutes. This certainly has advantages over battery power which take much longer to charge and/or swap out batteries. In all, there will be 100 kg per day available for Walmart’s lift truck fleet operations.

The Senior Vice-President of Air Liquide Group, François Darchis said of the development, “We are very pleased to provide the hydrogen and filling infrastructure for this first fleet in Canada. It is another step towards the global market Air Liquide has been anticipating.”

Of course many are by now asking – “Where is the hydrogen coming from and is it actually green?” According to Air Liquide, the hydrogen is being produced by using 98% renewable energy sources, such as hydroelectricity.

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