Air Products, a long time player, in creating hydrogen fueling stations for cars, trucks and other vehicles has now surpassed the fueling of over 1,000 fuel cell powered material handling units per day. These material handling units include fuel cell forklifts and palette trucks along with a couple of other types of vehicles one would find inside a large commercial warehouse.
I’ve talked about hydrogen forklifts and other fuel cell powered materials handling units many times over the past few years. These vehicles decrease indoor pollution compared to similar vehicles that run on fossil fuels. Compared to forklifts that use lead acid batteries, the ones running on fuel cells need only a couple of minutes to refuel compared to long charging times of the battery operated vehicles and thus increase production.
A couple of days ago, Air Products also announced that it has started refueling 33 fuel cell powered material handling units at the WinCo Foods LLC warehouse in Modesto, California. By 2013, they expect the number of hydrogen-powered material handling units to increase to a total of 184 at this facility.
I’ve talked before that fuel cell forklifts and other material handling units were the first hydrogen-powered vehicles to be commercialized, beating out cars, trucks, motorcycles, airplanes and boats. The market seized upon a need for clean indoor air, efficient vehicles, efficient use of workers’ time in servicing those vehicles and doing their jobs.
The market in the U. S. and Canada is quickly blooming and Europe is now starting to take notice. Air Products has been a part of this new market creation and expansion supplying the hydrogen fueling infrastructure for large warehouses. Big companies like Walmart, Coca-Cola and WinCo Foods are benefiting from hydrogen fuel cell forklifts and other material handling units.
Expect to see more companies jump onboard this year and for many years to come.