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Cellex Completes Fuel-Cell Pallet Truck Beta Trials at Wal-Mart

Cellex Power Products successfully completed beta trials of hydrogen fuel cell-powered pallet trucks at two Ohio-based Wal-Mart distribution centers.(Earlier post.) The pallet trucks met and exceeded uptime, fueling, environmental and safety targets.

The beta completion is the culmination of a four-month long field trial of Cellex’s CX-P150 fuel-cell product. Twelve rider pallet trucks worked in continuous operation, logging more than 18,500 hours of active work with more than 2,100 indoor fueling occurrences by pallet truck operators.

This beta trial success is a significant milestone for Cellex from Wal-Mart’s perspective. We really put these Cellex-powered vehicles to the test in our pallet truck applications and they did the job. Our pallet truck operators were most pleased with their performance and the ease of use. We now understand that operationally this new technology can be utilized in this application.

—Johnnie Dobbs, Wal-Mart’s executive vice president of Logistics and Supply Chain

Cellex fuel cells showed improved productivity via longer run times and shorter fueling times when compared to lead acid batteries. Pallet truck operators could fuel their trucks in less than two minutes, and the indoor fuel dispensing area of 200 square feet (compared to 4,000 square feet for a lead acid battery room) allowed operators to easily fuel their trucks quickly and safely.

The Cellex trucks are based on the Ballard Mark 9 4.8 kW fuel-cell stack. Ballard was associated with the Wal-Mart trials. Ballard originally developed the Mark 9 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.

Other companies associated with the trials included: BOC, a member of The Linde Group for hydrogen fuel; OKI Systems for service and support; Crown Equipment Corporation and Nissan Barrett for pallet trucks.

According to Cellex, the global market for electric lift trucks is growing on average by 5% per year with more than 700,000 electric lift trucks sold in 2004 alone. High throughout distribution centres typically average 1 million square feet in size, requiring a fleet of 100 to 300 trucks and up to three dedicated batteries per truck. Large operations such as those run by Wal-Mart, Kroger, Target, Sysco, SuperValu, Albertson’s, Ahold, etc. possess total fleets of between 5,000 and 20,000 lift trucks.



Well imagine, fuel cell is better than Lead Acid !
Why don't they compare LiOn to Fuel cell and lead Acid - surely this would be a better test.


No actaulylead acid is what is used.To be precise industrial lead acid batteries are used in these lifts and they are nothing like normal lead acid batteries.


Sounds like a good niche for H2. I'm familiar with the "industrial lead acid" batteries used ... they're still not very good. Would like to see a cost comparison trial with with the Altair batteries.


It says they can fill up in 2 minutes. With no exhaust fumes, this is a nice application for FCs.


Ah well then you know an industrail lead acid battery basicaly is about 8x the weight of a normal lead acid battery but is basicaly indestruictable and can thus be deep discharged as many times as you like.

They are often used in solar/wind homs as they are very cheap to get used and never wear out. And yes they DO hold a fair amount of power. Not as much as a lith ion but a fair bit more then a normal lead acid.

Now this fuel cell is ONLY 4.8 kw. Its like a durable fuelcell design and prolly geared to be cheap to make. Remember the fuel cells being designed for cars are about 125-200 kw designs...

Finaly look at the refuel numbers.. 200 or so refuels per truck in just 3 months...Very likely a lith ion would face about 300.. or 100 a month...And until recently lith ion didnt handle more then 3000 or so charges all that well much less deep charges/discharges...

And cost.. the tiny fuel cell likely costs far less then the heavy lith ion battery pack that would be needed .


Ok to explain in more detail the fuelcell in that lift truck is tiny.. about 1/20th or less the size of a fuel cell in a car. BUT a lith ion battery pack designed to operate as long as that does would be enourmous. About 60 kwh or almost twice the size of those new battery packs. About a 22000 buck deal even after they get die cost and all out of the way. Maybe more.

The fuel cell however is if its the one im thinking it is prolly only a couple grand 2-3. And it would use standard medium pressure steel tanks.

As for the h2 they gen it on site likely and walmart gets low prices on electricity so likely its cheap to make h2 for them.

Sid Hoffman

Wintermane, your 125-200kw figure is a little inflated. In fact a lot inflated. The 2006 Honda FCX uses an 80kw FC stack and rates it at 107hp and 201 ft-lbs of torque, which is comparable to a Civic hybrid on power and FAR superior on torque. Only heavy industrial applications such as delivery trucks would likely ever need anything like a 125-200kw FC stack.

tom deplume

Using H2 fuel cells for indoor vehicles might be cost effective in the future. So will microturbines or small diesels using H2 or biofuels.


You might get away with a smaller fuel cell and batteries in a non continuous application. The fuel cell could continue to run and charge the batteries between loadings and unloadings.


The main fuelcell car designs I have seen are going with a 125 kw fuel cell. And as I said 1/20th the sie in the post right after and 4.8 is close enough to 1/20th the size of 80.. ya not exact but who cares... The point is its a tiny fuel cell vs a battery pack that would ave to be enoirmoius to last the shift.
Its the perfect market for a fuel cell.


More Fool-Cell BS. Forklifts with swapable batteries are already here, so charge time is a non-issue.


Uh you didnt read the story did you? The fork lifts they wewre using already had multiple battery packs per lift. Thats how they all work.

It still takes awhile to pull the heavy pack and swap in a fresh one and they need a huge rea to store and charge all those packs.

The h2 system is fast enough and runs long enough to work far better then battery swapping and itsreful station is bastly smaller too.

Cheryl Ho

DME developments in China today!
Since DME has an advantage of decomposition at lower temperature than methane and LPG, R&D for hydrogen source for fuel cell has been carried out.

If you would like to know more on the latest DME developments, join us at upcoming North Asia DME / Methanol conference in Beijing, 27-28 June 2007, St Regis Hotel. The conference covers key areas which include:

DME productivity can be much higher especially if
country energy policies makes an effort comparable to
that invested in increasing supply.
National Development Reform Commission NDRC
Ministry of Energy for Mongolia

Production of DME/ Methanol through biomass
gasification could potentially be commercialized
Shandong University completed Pilot plant in Jinan and
will be sharing their experience.

Advances in conversion technologies are readily
available and offer exciting potential of DME as a
chemical feedstock
By: Kogas, Lurgi and Haldor Topsoe

Available project finance supports the investments
that DME/ Methanol can play a large energy supply role
By: International Finance Corporation

For more information: www.iceorganiser.com

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