Hydrogen Could Be Built for Warehouses

John Davis

Hydrogen-powered cars might be having a little trouble taking off in the U.S., but the clean power source might be built for the one area that might have heavier traffic this time of year than the highways: warehouses.

This story from SeekingAlpha.com says hydrogen fuel cell maker Plug Power has sold 220 fuel cells to Franklin Park, Ill.-based Central Grocers, Inc. which will be using them in their forklifts at a new distribution center in Joliet, Ill:

Using fuel cells powered by hydrogen delivered from an Air Products (APD) fueling system will save Central Grocers the cost of batteries and the system to recharge them, Plug Power said in a news release.

Using fuel cells also cuts down refueling time to about two minutes once or twice a day, versus batteries that need four to six recharges a day and can take hours to complete, Air Products said.

Fuel cell companies like Hydrogenics Corp. and Oorja Protonics are also targeting the forklift market. Fremont, Calif.-based Oorja’s fuel cells for forklifts have a twist – they use methanol, rather than pure hydrogen, as a fuel, a choice that the company says eases the cost and complications of refueling.

The article goes on to point out that warehouses are a natural for hydrogen power, as they can keep their fueling and charging stations nearby. Plus, they burn incredibly clean with water as the only “exhaust.”