Hydrogen fuel cell sales about to take off
11:00 AM US Eastern Timezone
Source:Corinne Kator-Modern Materials Handling
"It's time to start thinking about fuel cells in your lift
trucks," says Steve Medwin, manager of advanced research at Raymond
Corp. Medwin hosted a session on hydrogen fuel cell technology this
week at the annual conference of the Council of Supply Chain Management
Professionals (CSCMP) in San Antonio. "I think it's time to start
following the industry, if you haven't already," he said. "My
feeling is that in 2008/2009-which is not that far away-there's
going to be significant commercial sales."
Frank Trotter, president of General Hydrogen, a company that makes fuel
cell power packs for lift trucks, agrees that commercial sales of such
products are about to take off. "Sales are being made today," he
said. "The time has arrived."
General Hydrogen recently announced an agreement with Ballard Power
Systems to buy components for 2,900 power packs. Trotter says General
Hydrogen ordered just 100 of these components from Ballard last year.
The increase is based on sales forecasts for the next few years, he
Trotter said he has "more than 150 customers in some stage of
discussion." These customers are interested in using fuel cells to
power lift trucks, tuggers, automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) and other
Both Trotter and Medwin tout the potential of hydrogen fuel cells to
increase productivity. Fuel cells have several advantages over
lead-acid batteries, they say, including longer runtime, more
consistent power and quick refueling.