Fuel cell refueling time reduced, Raymond study finds

The Raymond Corporation announced yesterday that its research into hydrogen fuel cell-powered lift truck performance has led to some interesting findings. The research commenced in January, at its Greene, NY, manufacturing facility.

01/15/2008


The Raymond Corporation announced yesterday that its research into hydrogen fuel cell-powered lift truck performance has led to some interesting findings. The research commenced in January, at its Greene, NY, manufacturing facility, where hydrogen fuel cell-powered lift trucks were implemented in real applications, in a “living lab” setting, using an indoor, fast-fill hydrogen refueling system.

Early findings in the study indicate that, in comparison with battery-powered lift trucks, hydrogen fuel cell lift trucks maintain comparable performance while significantly reducing refueling time.

Braking distance and maximum travel and lift speeds of the fuel cell truck are equivalent to that of a battery-powered lift truck, and refueling at the indoor refueling station takes only a couple of minutes, compared with the up to 20 minutes it takes to remove and replace a battery from the same truck model.

The study also found that in today’s electric lift truck designs, the battery acts as part of the counterweight. Since hydrogen fuel cell components do not weigh the same as lead-acid batteries, additional weight must be added to the fuel cell unit and be distributed within the fuel cell system to maintain the truck’s center of gravity. Future lift trucks may have the fuel cells wholly incorporated into the design of the trucks to address these issues.

Other areas that Raymond is studying include:

  • Hydrogen consumption and frequency of refueling

  • Operation of the hydrogen infrastructure and refueling

  • The reliability, maintenance and repairability of the fuel cell systems

  • Voltage delivered, and how it compares with the specifications for electrical components on a truck

    • “Raymond is committed to helping the materials handling industry realize the higher productivity and environmentally clean technology that hydrogen fuel cells can offer,” said Steve Medwin, manager of advanced research for Raymond. “We will continue to share the results of our research as it becomes available.”

      The two-year research program was developed in conjunction with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.



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