Hydrogen powered forklight trucks coming to market

May 12th, 2011 by SINTEF

The first forklift trucks in Europe to run on fuel cells and hydrogen are on the way to the market.

No fewer than 30 demonstration units are to be tested, and Norway is among the countries potentially involved in the trials.

These large European hydrogen-driven trucks are designed to carry heavy loads (click image to expand)

Risavika harbour just outside Stavanger is among the candidates for trials of ten of the 30 forklift trucks, says SINTEF’s Steffen Møller-Holst.  SINTEF is a participant in the project’s development phase.

Under its bodywork, the forklift truck houses a fuel cell that runs on hydrogen, and which delivers power to its electric motor. All that the forklift truck emits in operation is water vapour.

“A hydrogen-driven forklift truck running on fuel cells combines the advantages of rapid refueling and energy-efficiency, and is as environmentally friendly as a battery powered forklift truck,” says Møller-Holst.

The SINTEF scientist points out that a forklift truck fitted with fuel cells and operating two eight-hour shifts a day reduces CO2 emissions by the equivalent of eight private cars.

The truck’s power system has been developed in the course of a joint European effort run by the European Union.

SINTEF is to perform laboratory tests that will explore how much fuel cell performance falls by over time. At the same time, SINTEF will systematise and analyse feedback from the trials of the 30 demonstration forklift trucks.

The knowledge gained in this process will be used to improve the control system and optimise operation, which will ensure that the fuel cell will have a life-cycle that meets the commercial requirements of the market.

The Danish company H2 Logic AS has been responsible for developing the trucks’ fuel-cell technology. The solution is a development of a fuel cell that the company had previous developed with Scandinavian backing; its partners included SINTEF and Statoil.

These large forklift trucks in the joint European project have been designed to carry heavy loads. They are manufactured by the Danish company Dantruck, which is showing them off this week at the enormous CeMAT trade fair in Hanover.


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