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Plug Power, Charlatte America deliver fuel cell cargo tuggers for FedEx at Albany International Airport

Plug Power Inc. and Charlatte America, a member of the Fayat Group, the leading manufacturer of battery powered electric airport ground support equipment (GSE) throughout Europe and the United States, have delivered fuel cell-powered electric cargo tuggers for use by FedEx at the Albany International Airport.

The ground support vehicles were built by Charlatte America and operate using Plug Power’s zero-emission ProGen hydrogen fuel cell system. The ProGen powered tuggers are in operation at the Albany International Airport transporting FedEx packages from the sorting facility to delivery airplanes.

Performance and reliability data has been collected during cold winter months, where temperatures can drop as low as -10 ˚F (-23.33 ˚C). The Charlatte America electric GSE vehicles require less maintenance than internal combustion-powered equipment and are designed to support the ongoing market trend to electrification of mobility.

The addition of Plug Power’s ProGen hydrogen fuel cell technology enables the cargo tuggers to tow up to 40,000 pounds without stopping for up to four hours and only requires three to four minutes for refueling. This zero-emission vehicle also operates with a high energy efficiency of around 45%, versus about 20% for diesel.

The wear and tear on the vehicles is lower, reducing maintenance demands such as oil changes, brakes and starter replacements. As a result, these vehicles reduce operational costs while increasing productivity.

As the global leader in the development and sale of battery powered electric GSE, Charlatte understands the rigorous demands that the ramp environment places upon equipment. The Plug Power fuel cell model has proven itself to be another green alternative solution to add to our product offerings for our cargo tractors.

—Rob Lamb, Vice President Sales & Service, Charlatte America

Plug Power built one of the first hydrogen fueling stations on the East Coast, at its headquarters in Latham, NY. The FedEx vehicles are refueled and serviced at the Plug Power fueling station, which has been used to refuel the first FedEx delivery van since its launch in January.

Plug Power also supports more than 25,000 GenDrive fuel cells in the field worldwide.

The Department of Energy’s Fuel Cell Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy supports early stage R&D that enables progress in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, and has collaborated with Plug Power, FedEx, and Charlatte on this work, with FedeX Express deploying a fleet of fuel cell cargo tractors at the Memphis Superhub.

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Comments

Engineer-Poet

It would be interesting to get a comparison between the Plug Power tractor and one powered by e.g. Enevate batteries.  These airport baggage tugs go between aircraft and specific stations like baggage conveyor lines.  It should not be difficult to arrange automatic charging from overhead power at those stations.  Such charging would allow the vehicle to operate effectively continuously.

Even if automatic in-service charging could not be arranged, the Enevate chemistry allows 80% charging in 5 minutes.  This would result in similar "fueling" time.  The end-to-end efficiency would be greater and the need for high-pressure gas handling would be eliminated.

HarveyD

Yes, a baggage tractor unit with ultra quick charge Enevate batteries would be very competitive and probably cheaper to operate.

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