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Proton Power Systems Introduces Triple-Hybrid Forklift: Fuel Cell, Battery and Supercaps

The PM MH 30 system for fork lifts. Click to enlarge.

Proton Power Systems plc has introduced a triple-hybrid forklift system. Designed as a “plug-and-drive” technology by Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH (Proton Motor, PM), a wholly owned subsidiary of Proton Power, the PM Package MH 30 system combines a fuel cell, battery and supercapacitors.

The system is designed to replace the standard 80 V, 700Ah battery in Class 1 forklifts. All PM MH 30 components are used in their optimal operation range, and the system offers more than 50% energy savings compared with diesel engine forklifts and fuel-cell-only systems, according to the company.

The 10 kW proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell is fueled by a 350 bar tank with a capacity of two kilograms of hydrogen. This corresponds to around 70 kWh of energy, and is sufficient to allow the forklift to work for an eight-hour shift. A short recharge time allows users to refuel hydrogen for a full working shift in just one minute.

Including the supercapacitors, the system can provide more than 30 kW of peak power. Unlike batteries, which have long recharge and discharge times, supercapacitors can quickly be charged and discharged for sudden spurts of peak demand. They also allow the recovery of energy from highly dynamic actions such as braking. Complementing the supercapacitors, the battery provides energy buffering over longer peak demand times.

An intelligent energy management system controls the power distribution between the fuel cell, supercapacitors, and battery. The energy recovered during braking is stored in the supercapacitors and batteries, which provide peak power during operations such as acceleration and lifting heavy loads.



It would be interesting to build one with a CNG or diesel ICE instead of a fuel cell - probably much cheaper.

CNG which is cleaner, could be used for predominantly indoor use, diesel for outdoor use.

Also, does anyone know how much it costs to add supercaps to a hybrid design ?

It seems like a good idea if you can do it cheaply enough.


err no, i don't want any CNG engines running indoors, thank you very much.

there are already examples of CNG engines running indoors with air quality high enough for people to work with no ventilation. it is a viable, or perhaps more cost effective and realistic, alternative to hydrogen and a fuelcell.


This system looks impressive with quick turnaround time, nontoxic exhaust, low noise etc. That's provided you don't go outside the warehouse to check indirect emissions and energy losses. We need to know both the ticket price and the hourly running cost compared to lead-acid batteries.


Give it a rest folks h2 males great sense in the forklift market because small fuel cells are cheap and very compact and because the energy cost is LOWER then old methods. Alot of big chains are looking at h2 fuel cell lift trucks and no its not because of bush or big oil.


With the high power nanophosphates available, what benefits are offered by putting in supercaps? 30kW is no more than an HEV. Getting rid of the caps could simplify the system, no?


The reason they dont just use lithium ion is its a bloody 56 kwh pack they are replacing. The caps are there to handle the massive start loads forklifts demand. While an industual lead bat can handle massive amp loads for short times lith cant do it and neither can a fuel cell so they must add in athe caps.


Do you mean 56kW power or 56kWh energy? It should be no problem for a large format nanophosphate to handle 2-3 kW/kg. If the demand is only 30kW for a second or two (for the caps), that's a 10kg battery, no big deal. I'd like to know the duty cycle though, because it could run into some thermal issues over time.


It might be interesting to use a reversible PEM, so that you have hydrogen generation on board. You would just plug it in over night and have extended range during the day.


They said the standard battery it replaced was 90 v 7--ah thats I assume 56kwh.

As for loads... At a guess the peak start load of that battery is likely in the range of 90k to over 200kw for 1-3 seconds. I know when out industial morots kicked in to move loads about as heavy as a forklift it kicked 240kw each.


Error seems to be made, "The 10 kW proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell is fueled by a 350 bar tank with a capacity of two kilograms of hydrogen. This corresponds to around 70 kWh of energy," - 1 kg/h2 = ~14kWhrs of hydrogen. Therefore, if there are 2 kgs of hydrogen onboard this equates to ~28 kwh of energy NOT 70 kwh of energy.

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