Wednesday, 03 March 2010 09:33

Linde MH delivers first trucks with fuel cells

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linde-logo1With the delivery of two fuel-cell trucks to the Linde Gases Division, part of technology company The Linde Group, Linde Material Handling has taken another important step on the road to more intensive use of innovative drive technology. As the first industrial truck manufacturer in Europe, Linde MH has incorporated fuel cell trucks into its product range. The trucks are now offered as standard and with immediate effect, as a "Customised Option".

Both fuel-cell trucks are based on the 3-tonne electric counterbalanced truck, the Linde E30. In addition, the enhanced beverage industry version offers an optimised view over the load. In place of the usual 80-volt battery, the trucks have a fuel cell and a tank, which stores 1.6 kilograms of hydrogen gas at 350 bar. The electricity generated from the hydrogen supplies the electric motors that drive the truck. Alongside this are so-called supercaps, large condensers, which act as a buffer and cover performance peaks, such as pulling away or lifting, for example. The trucks bear the CE mark and are permitted for use on public roads. When it comes to performance data, the trucks are not different to the equivalent battery-powered model in the range and they are tailored specially to Linde Gas' customer requirements.

The fuel-cell trucks were developed over the last two years with long-term partner, Hydrogenics, the Canadian fuel cell manufacturer. Linde's contractual partner, Gruma Nutzfahrzeuge, based in Garching, near Munich, has been involved with the project from the beginning and is responsible for all issues related to servicing and maintaining the trucks. One of the trucks is used by Linde Gas for transporting Gas bottles between production halls and the truck embark point, which involves crossing a public road. The second fuel-cell truck operates in the field of gas bottle filling. Both trucks replace diesel trucks with a
3.5-tonne load capacity, which were previously used for this purpose. Filling up the fuel-cell trucks is quick and safe at the Linde hydrogen centre filling pump and is therefore comparable to filling a conventional truck.

The benefit of the fuel-cell drive for Linde Gas is the "zero emissions" that these trucks produce when used. The only waste product from the splitting of hydrogen molecules is pure water. Another benefit of fuel cells, in comparison to other drive concepts, is that there is no longer a requirement for battery replacement or a battery charging process lasting a number of hours. In the same way, the safety risks relating to the use of battery acid are removed. In order to be able to use the trucks, drivers only require an extra hour and a half driving lesson, along with a valid forklift licence for the advanced trucks.

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