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Linde Material Handling delivers hydrogen fuel cell industrial trucks and tow trucks to BMW for BMW i production; H2IntraDrive

14 December 2013

Linde Material Handling recently handed over a fleet of four tow trucks and five industrial trucks with hydrogen fuel cell hybrid drive to the BMW plant in Leipzig. As part of a research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, these vehicles are powered by green-certified hydrogen and will be used for the supply of parts in body production of the BMW i. The Chair for Material Handling, Material Flow and Logistics (fml) at Munich Technical University is evaluating the field trial which is taking place under realistic production conditions.

The fuel cell will prevail as a key propulsion technology in intralogistics. With the H2IntraDrive we are taking an important step towards making hydrogen-powered industrial trucks ready for industrial-scale production.

—Theodor Maurer, CEO of Linde Material Handling

Recharging cycles, battery replacement and the maintenance of lead/acid batteries require relatively long downtimes for conventional trucks and thus reduce their productivity. By contrast, the fuel cell hybrid system used in these Linde vehicles can be refueled within just a few minutes and requires relatively little maintenance. The resulting higher availability of the industrial trucks and tractors is particularly advantageous in multi-shift operation. Moreover, the energy recovered during braking is stored in the lithium-ion battery of the hybrid system and released once again during load peaks, while the fuel cell provides the basic power.

Sustainability is a top priority for the BMW i. This applies both to the product and to the way it is manufactured. Therefore, fuel cell vehicles with certified green hydrogen as an energy carrier are just perfect for the BMW Plant Leipzig.

—Plant Manager Dr. Milan Nedeljkovic

Germany’s first indoor hydrogen refueling station was installed in BMW i body production. Linde Gas set up the infrastructure and ensures the supply of hydrogen produced from renewable resources. The fml Chair at the Technical University of Munich will be evaluating the environmental sustainability and economic efficiency of the fuel cell vehicles in everyday use. The Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development is supporting the research project under the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (nip) with a sum of €2.9 million (US$4 million).

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