Last week I talked about how industrial gas supplier Air Liquide was making money from installing hydrogen fueling station infrastructure inside of large commercial warehouses for use by fuel cell powered lift trucks, forklifts and palette trucks. This week I want to talk about another manufacturer in a different segment of the industry profiting from selling hydrogen fuel cells for those vehicles.
Plug Power has announced that it has just developed its next generation GenDrive hydrogen fuel cell system that is meant to drop in as a replacement for lead acid batteries inside industrial lift trucks. The improvements in the GenDrive system include advances in reliability and towing capacity.
According to Plug Power, “GenDrive units have accumulated more than 5 million hours of runtime at customer sites across North America. Plug Power remains the leader in fuel cell system product deployments, including live sites at Walmart, Sysco, BMW and Coca-Cola. On average, GenDrive customers increase productivity by up to 15 percent, lower operational costs by up to 30 percent and reduce site greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 percent.”
Commercialization and competition continues in this hydrogen-based marketplace. And with the successes in this industry you can expect the biggest players with largest warehouses to also start jumping onboard (as they already have been). With the ability to retrofit current materials handling vehicles from lead acid batteries to hydrogen fuel cells, one only wonders how long it will take before H2 lift trucks are the standard in all warehouses across the nation.