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Ballard Fuel Cells in Electric Lift Truck Trials

Ballard’s Mark 902 Stack

Ballard Power Systems is to provide 27 Mark 902 4.8-kW fuel cell stacks to Cellex Power for integration into its power units destined for trials in electric lift trucks.

Cellex’s power products are designed to replace industrial lead acid batteries in electric lift trucks used in high throughput distribution centers.

Ballard expects to begin unit deliveries in the third quarter of 2005. The term of the supply agreement expire in the third quarter of 2006. If the field trials are successful, Ballard and Cellex intend to negotiate a follow-on supply agreement to support higher volumes in 2007 and beyond.

Ballard originally developed the Mark 902 fuel cell for automotive applications, but it can be configured for motive or stationary power applications. Stacks are available in power increments from 4 kilowatts to 21 kilowatts.

The stack series represents the fourth-generation of fuel cell technology from Ballard.

Ballard Mark 902
Rated power (kW)491421
DC Voltage @ 300A16324870
Mass (wet with no coolant) (kg)1013.51723
FuelCompressed hydrogen
OxidantCompressed air
Operating temperature-25º C to 40º C (-13º F to 104º F)
Start-up temperature>0º C (>32º F)

Last month Cellex successfully completed alpha trials of hydrogen fuel-cell-powered pallet trucks at the logistics subsidiary of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. As a result of the trial, Wal-Mart agreed further to support Cellex’s beta field trials and commercialization process of fuel cell power systems for electric lift trucks.

Cellex had four fuel cell power units in operation for two weeks at a Wal-Mart food distribution center in Missouri.

Lead acid batteries used today in such logistics applications typically last 4 to 8 hours. Large distribution centers often change batteries more than 300 times per day resulting in lost productivity and increased operational cost. By contrast, the Cellex fuel cell power units eliminate battery changing, run longer than batteries, maintain consistent power delivery to the lift truck and refuel in one minute.


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