With the delivery of two fuel-cell trucks to the Linde Gases Division, part of The Linde Group, Linde Material Handling has taken another important step on the road to more intensive use of innovative drive technology. As the largest industrial truck manufacturer in Europe, Linde MH now incorporates fuel cell trucks into its product range.
Both fuel-cell trucks are based on the Linde E 30, 3-tonne electric counterbalanced truck. Instead 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 powers the electric motors that drive the truck. Alongside this are so-called supercaps – large condensers which act as a buffer to cover peaks current draw, such as accelerating from rest or lifting a load, for example. The trucks bear the CE mark and are registered for use on the public road. When it comes to performance, the trucks are no different to the equivalent battery-powered models and the specification is especially tailored to the Linde Gas requirements.
These fuel-cell trucks have been developed over the last two years with Lindes long-term partner, Hydrogenics, the Canadian fuel cell manufacturer. Linde’s distributor, Gruma Nutzfahrzeuge, based in Garching, near Munich, has been involved with the project from the start and is responsible for servicing and maintaining the trucks. One of the trucks is used by Linde Gas for transporting Gas bottles between production and despatch which involves crossing a public road. The second works in the bottle filling area. Both trucks replace diesel trucks with a 3.5-tonne capacity which were previously used for this purpose. Refilling the fuel-cell trucks is quick and safe using the Linde hydrogen filling centre and is comparable to refilling conventional diesel truck.
The main benefit of the fuel-cell Linde Gas is the "zero emissions" aspect. The only waste product from the conversion of hydrogen into electricity is pure water. Further benefit of fuel cells compared to conventional traction batteries is that there is no longer a need to change the battery for a second shift or charge a battery which can take several hours. Operators with a licence for a conventional counterbalance truck only require an hour and a half of conversion training to operate these new fuel cell machines.