Hyster claims to have released Australasia’s first hydrogen-powered forklifts to bring clean, green and reliable performance to industry.
The forklifts are being demonstrated by Hyster for companies seeking clean, green, environmental high performance, coupled with the convenience and workplace efficiency of rapid refuelling for maximum uptime.
The new machines – which offer the performance and refuelling speed of typical conventionally powered alternatives, but with the sustainability of electric motors – were demonstrated in Sydney in April. The products are currently available for distribution in the United States and Canada.
“These new hard-working forklifts comprise a production-tested Hyster range that complements our existing globally respected ranges and is backed by the distribution and technical resources of the Hyster-Yale group, which produces forklifts for the toughest working conditions in capacities from 1-52 tonnes,” said Mr Fagg.
“The new hydrogen powered forklift trucks are aimed particularly at companies seeking the ultimate combination of environmentally harmonious indoor and outdoor performance, without having to interrupt production cycles or have vehicles out of service for lengthy charging or battery changing. These benefits will extend to a wide range of materials handling operations, where productivity is a vital element in maintaining a competitive edge.
“We believe that not only are these the first hydrogen powered forklifts in Australia or New Zealand, but also that such practical hydrogen-powered vehicles as these show the way ahead for a whole new generation of future-focused work vehicles, and perhaps ultimately for passenger vehicles.
“Hyster’s hydrogen-powered ranges – which complement our broader globally respected materials handling technologies – utilise durable high-performance Nuvera fuel cell systems, which are fast-fuelled power options that replace lead-acid batteries in Class I, II, and III electric lift trucks. The Nuvera fuel cell system is designed and built to provide customer return on investment over the lifecycle of the product.
“The new hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklifts can be fully re-fuelled in as little as three minutes, which saves significant downtime compared with battery operated forklifts, that can take up to eight hours to recharge. This means the whole fleet can be used to its full potential – maximising product and operator utilisation – and the gains in uptime and productivity.”
How they work
Fuel cell vehicles are fuelled and refuelled by a hose from a dispenser in the same way that typical work vehicles and cars and trucks are refuelled at a petrol or diesel bowser. The hydrogen dispenser pumps hydrogen into the cell’s hydrogen storage tank. As long as the fuel cell is supplied with hydrogen and oxygen, it will generate electricity to power the forklift’s electric motor.
In the process of the hydrogen fuel’s conversion to electricity through a chemical reaction in the cell, electricity is produced, and this is used to power the electric motor that drives the vehicle. The process is very clean because, unlike a conventional fossil fuel engine, a fuel cell doesn’t burn the hydrogen. Instead, it’s fused chemically with oxygen producing electricity and water, this being the primary emission from the vehicle giving the vehicle outstanding clean, green credentials.
Who will use this technology?
The sustainability delivered by Hyster’s new work vehicles is applicable to an entire range of future-focused industries, including particularly materials handling, manufacturing, warehousing, distribution and processing operations,. It is also directly relevant to major resources companies (such as mining, oil and gas) that are seeking to reduce their operations’ environmental footprint in remote and sensitive areas, as well as environmentally aware utilities including local authorities, energy, water and waste water engineering facilities and transport and automotive service facilities where workers may be exposed to environmental and workplace OB&S hazards.
Requirements essential to the success of the use of this technology include a steady, cost-effective supply of hydrogen, which can be delivered, generated on-site or by employing a fleet dispenser system such as Hyster-Yale’s proven Nuvera system.