|EERC displays fuel cell-powered forklift truck|
The Energy & Environmental Research Center and ePower Synergies, Inc., announce the arrival of their second fuel cell-powered vehicle: a new Hyster forklift truck. The forklift is currently on display at the EERC. This new vehicle is the result of a partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, ePower Synergies, the U.S. Air Force, and the EERC to develop fuel cell vehicles and a portable hydrogen production and refueling system for military applications. The truck offers high performance quiet operation with no carbon monoxide or other harmful emissions.
“Hydrogen fuel cell technology is now, not tomorrow,” stated EERC Director Gerald Groenewold. “The key is to demonstrate that hydrogen vehicles are commercially and technologically viable and safe. Off-road applications are just the first wave —- the EERC and its corporate partners are involved in the development of a variety of off-road hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, which are providing a cornerstone for deployment of hydrogen fuel cell-powered highway vehicles.”
Because the fuel cell forklift will be operating both inside and outside, and on a variety of surfaces, a European-produced pneumatic-tired, high-power, 80-volt drive system Hyster was selected for the transformation. “Because it’s a European-based vehicle, this application will provide us with very useful feedback and experience for our subsequent growth outside North America,” said Frank Trotter, president and COE of General Hydrogen, manufacturer of the fuel cell used in the Hyster forklift (based in Richmond, British Colu mbia, near Vancouver).
“One objective of this project is to evaluate the performance of a hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklift against a forklift powered with an internal combustion engine fueled with propane,” said Bruce Wood, president of ePower Synergies. “Customers typically prefer propane-powered units as they deliver higher performance than battery electric units, but when noise and engine emissions are a problem, they use the battery-powered units. This fuel cell-powered forklift offers the best of both, and unlike the hours it takes to properly charge lift truck batteries, the fuel cell can be refueled in less than 5 minutes.”
ePower Synergies is a developer of clean vehicles and personal mobility systems based in Cordova, Illinois, with an office in Portland, Oregon. This is the second fuel cell-powered vehicle unveiled within the past year at the EERC. The world’s first hydrogen fuel cell-powered ice resurfacer, the eP-ICEBEAR, was introduced in November 2005.
The forklift is expected to go into service for at least one year at the North Dakota Army National Guard Base in Grand Forks, and will be officially unveiled in early July. Both the eP-Ice Bear and the Hyster Forklift will be on display at the North Dakota State Fair, July 21–29, 2006, in Minot, N.D.
For more information contact Derek Walters, EERC Communications Manager, at 777-5113 or email@example.com .