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Maxwell Receives Order for 200,000 Ultracaps for Fuel-Cell Packs


General Hydrogen Corporation has placed a 200,000 unit, three-year, purchase order for Maxwell ultracapacitors to enhance performance and energy management in its Hydricity Pack fuel-cell technology for industrial vehicles, especially forklifts. (Earlier post.)

Each Hydricity system incorporates 30 to 120 Maxwell BOOSTCAP MC2600 2,600-farad ultracapacitor cells. General Hydrogen anticipates that its volume requirements will escalate rapidly over the next three years.

The 2.7-volt MC2600, introduced in June 2005, offers increased voltage from Maxwell’s older ultracapacitors and doubles the duty cycles from 500,000 to one million.

The purchase order is part of a strategic supply agreement through which General Hydrogen will source ultracapacitors exclusively from Maxwell and receive strategic pricing if volume thresholds specified in the purchase order are reached.

The Hydricity Packs are designed as drop-in replacements for lead-acid batteries in Class I electric forklifts.

Maxwell’s ultracapacitors are a critical element that helps us triple the runtime of forklifts, eliminating the average three lead-acid battery sets per vehicle and the extensive infrastructure normally associated with the recharging and care of high-use conventional battery-electric forklifts.

Ultracapacitors’ burst power capabilities, energy recapture efficiency and long operating life make them an ideal complement to hydrogen fuel cells.

—Frank Trotter, President and CEO General Hydrogen



Are these ultracapacitors going to be used alongside of higher energy density, but lower power density, advanced battery technologies. Or are they just going to be used alonside the current lead acid battery packs to mitigate the Peukert effect?

George Bush

The Raymond Corporation recently put forth a study on the use of fuel cells in materials handling applications. The study shows that fuel cell batteries in the material handling space can be economical at $4000 per kilowatt. That study is availble here:


These fuel cell battery packs from General Hydrogen utilize fuel cells as the primary power source and utilize the ultra-capacitors for peak power needs.

General Hydrogen of course was founded by Geoffrey Ballard and already has commericial sales with Bridgestone. The utilize Ballard Power systems for their fuel cells.

Based upon a prior strategic sales agreement with General Hydrogen and Ballard Power, the average fuel cell for materials handling might run around 13 kilowatts or so (the deal sold them in size ranges of 4.8 KW to 21.1 KW).

Considering the Maxwell sale suggests General Hydrogen selling 2666 or so fuel cell batteries...that makes for some interesting numbers given the Raymond study.

4000 $/kw x 13 kw avg x 2666 units = $138,632,000

This of course just represents the beginning potential of fuel cells in the material handling space. I think this makes the material handling space look very promising as the first large scale fuel cell market place.

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