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General Hydrogen in Fuel-Cell Luggage Tug Project with Air Canada

Hydricity packs are based on Ballard fuel cells. Click to enlarge.

General Hydrogen Corporation will participate in a fuel-cell project at the Vancouver International Airport to examine the use of fuel-cell power packs in tugs that tow baggage to and from aircraft. The project will take place in cooperation with Air Canada at its Vancouver Ground Support Equipment site.

The Government of Canada is providing C$867,000 (US$784,000)in support of the project through the Canadian Transportation Fuel Cell Alliance.

Airports worldwide are looking for a variety of ways to reduce emissions and improve productivity. Most baggage tuggers have diesel engines and are required to go in and out of terminals and service buildings. We believe we will demonstrate that electric tuggers powered with our power packs are more efficient.

—Frank Trotter, President and CEO, General Hydrogen

General Hydrogen’s Hydricity power packs contain Ballard Power Systems’ fuel cells, and run for up to three times longer on a single fueling than their battery-powered equivalents.

The same power pack was shown to greatly extend the operating time and performance of an electric-battery forklift in an earlier project at the Air Canada facility.

In November 2005, Bridgestone/Firestone Tire ordered General Hydrogen’s hydrogen-powered Hydricity Packs as replacements for conventional lead-acid batteries in material handling vehicles in its Warren County, Tennessee plant. (Earlier post.)



Just in case someone asks why an airport, of all places, would be interested in cutting the small amount of pollution caused by baggage tugs when they are busy pumping so much jet exhaust into the atmosphere, the answer is this:

These tugs are meant to be used in an indoor or semi-indoor setting, making exhaust ventilation a key concern. They run between the jet planes on the tarmac (where emissions are less of a concern) to the loading portions of baggage belts, which can often be in enclosed or semi-enclosed spaces, and often near those little doors through which the bags slide when coming around the conveyor belt. Getting exhaust into those semi-enclosed spaces, or getting exhaust near those little doors, which can allow it to enter the terminal building itself, presents a particular indoor air quality and ventilation problem, above and beyond the overall environmental costs associated with burning petroleum.

This is also why warehouse operators are often willing to pay more for extremely clean forklift power systems (natural gas, battery, fuel cell), while not caring too much about the diesel tractor trailers idling in the parking lot outside.


F@ing lame, "Greenwashing"!!
Just using standard NG powered vehicles would have created less pollution.

zhong chen

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