Yesterday I received a press release from ITM Power and was granted an exclusive interview with their CEO Dr. Graham Cooley. ITM Power sees its HFuel mobile hydrogen high pressure hydrogen refueling station as their headline product.
The HFuel unit is self contained and modular so it can be picked up by truck and transported to wherever it is needed. It’s modular so if a location needs more hydrogen production additional electrolyzers can be added. Also if more storage is needed, then more H2 tanks can be added as well.
There is an excellent Youtube video outlining the capabilities of the Hfuel refueling station. The big news, however, is that ITM Power is teaming up with DHL parcel delivery service (that announced its pullout of the U. S. market in 2008) and London’s Stansted Airport to pilot its Hydrogen On Site Trials (HOST) program.
In the HOST program, ITM Power will supply the H2 refueling stations and Revolve Technologies will convert two Ford internal combustion vans to run on hydrogen. This partnership of H2 refueling stations and H2 vans will be field tested by DHL and the Stansted Airport starting in the first quarter of 2011.
When I had spoken to Dr. Cooley he had talked about the “try before you buy” concept and his interest in entering the fleet vehicle market inside the UK. But, not only that, Dr. Cooley also spoke about gaining inroads inside the U. S. fleet market as well.
Today, it was announced that Dr. Graham Cooley was appointed to the Executive Committee of the US Fuel Cell Council. So, this is one instant inroad already.
Dr. Cooley also expressed his interest in the U. S. hydrogen forklift marketplace and the North American fleet vehicle marketplace in general (possibly including Canada). So, this got me to wondering just what does the U. S. fleet vehicle market consist of in regard to actual numbers.
In 2008, the U. S. government had the largest number of fleet vehicles at around 650,000. In private industry, AT&T led the pack in 2009 with around 86,000 total fleet vehicles followed by UPS, Verizon, Comcast and FEDEX.
In fact, the total number of fleet vehicles in the private sector in the U. S. totaled over 1.4 million in 2009. Now, out of this number, I wondered who the early adopters might be for this kind of hydrogen vehicle and portable hydrogen fueling station technology.
I found a list of the Top 50 Green Fleets in the U. S. for 2009 that are already using alternative fuel vehicles. Merck & Co., Inc. and Schwan’s Home Service Inc. top the list at 5,849 and 5,800 total alternative fuel vehicles respectively.
UPS comes in at number 13 on the list with 1,448 alt fuel vehicles and FedEx comes in at number 23 with 786 alt fuel vehicles. Since UPS and FedEx have both piloted hydrogen vehicles in the past I would think they would be especially enticing targets for ITM Power in their field trials.