|The H2 Hyster Forklift|
Hydrogenics is preparing to enter a second phase of one of its early-adopter, light-mobility programs by deploying fuel cell-ultracapacitor hybrid forklifts at a Fedex facility in the Toronto area.
The light mobility program is designed to seed early-adopter markets for hydrogen fuel cells with Hydrogenics systems, to focus product development and to build distribution channels. Hydrogenics believes that forklifts can be one such early adopter application of its technology.
(Several other Canadian fuel cell companies—General Hydrogen and Cellex—are also looking to industrial vehicles, specifically forklifts, as a natural fit for fuel cells.)
The Hyster E55Z, 5000-lb lift capacity forklifts are equipped with a Hydrogenics HyPM 10 Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell module which delivers 10 kW net continuous power.
Electrical energy produced by regenerative braking is stored in Maxwell Technologies’ Boostcap ultracapacitors that are integrated into the power pack. The ultracapacitors provide extra energy for applications such as lifting.
Phase One of the initiative, already complete, involved the deployment of two forklifts at GM Canada’s main car assembly plant in Oshawa. Results of the complete two-phase project will be developed into a white paper to be published later this year.
Sustainable Development Technology Canada is supporting the forklift project with a C $1.45 million (US $1.18 million) contribution, leveraging a C $1.98 million (US $1.6 million) commitment from a Hydrogenics-led consortium. The consortium members include Deere & Company, FedEx Canada, General Motors of Canada, NACCO Materials Handling Group and the Canadian Transportation Fuel Cell Alliance.
Inasmuch as customers typically start with small orders of one of two units as they test the technology and the value proposition, we believe many of the customers we are working with today can materialize into substantial commercial opportunities tomorrow. This 'pathway to profitability' model has been used very successfully by developers of new technologies in the past - we believe that Hydrogenics is the company that is going to do it for fuel cells.—Pierre Rivard, President and CEO
Other light mobility activity over the last 6 months includes:
Delivery and road-permitting of Purolator’s first zero-emission, fuel cell powered vehicle. The vehicle, equipped with a Hydrogenics 65 kW HyPM in a battery hybrid configuration, will commence in-service trials this summer as part of Purolator’s “greening of the fleet” initiative.
Preparation of Toronto’s ExPlace to receive a small fleet of next-generation fuel cell-powered John Deere Gators to integrate into their regular grounds operations. This will be the first deployment of John Deere vehicles for end-user validation. Deere continues on a progressive product development track with a recent follow-on order for two HyPM units bringing the total to nine.
Unveiling of Hydrogenics’ HyPM hybrid package in The Toro Company’s proof-of-concept fuel cell hybrid greensmower. This is believed to be one of the earliest applications for fuel cell technology in grounds equipment.
Completion and demonstration of a fuel cell hybrid midi-bus to the state of North Rhine Westphalia. German T?V road certification is in progress and expected to be complete in the third quarter. This fuel cell battery hybrid design has the capacity to at least double the range achievable by batteries alone.
Engagement with REVA Electric Car Company (Maini Industrial Group, India,) and Th!nk Nordic (Norway). Initial HyPM sales for prototype vehicles are being secured at this time. The REVA initiative plans for a small fleet of vehicles as an eco-tourism pilot project launched by the Indian Oil Corporation, and the Th!nk Nordic project plans for additional vehicles over the next two years for various demonstration projects, including Norway’s Hynor initiative.
Demonstration initiatives launched in 2005 included Hydrogenics’ sponsorship of University of Waterloo’s Challenge X team as they integrate a HyPM power module into the drive train of a GM Equinox vehicle. The team took top honors for their design stage deliverables at a recent Challenge X competition.
The provision of a 2X10 kW HyPM to SunLine Transit Agency for integration into an APU in a modified standard Class-8 Peterbilt truck. The truck recently made a trip across the US, demonstrating a significant overall reduction of fossil fuel consumption.
The provision of a electrolyzer-fuel cell APU, to be deployed on board a Stryker Light Armored Vehicle (LAV). The APU will extend the LAV’s silent watch capabilities.