Innovative Onboard Methanol-Based Fuel Cell Charger for Material Handling Vehicles

Following three years of development and customer trial programs, Oorja Protonics (Oorja), the San Francisco Bay Area based leader in ultra-powerful methanol fuel cell technology has revealed its first commercial product offering, OorjaPac(TM).

OorjaPac(TM) is a breakthrough onboard charging system for forklifts, pallet loaders, and other material handling vehicles and charges their batteries both while they operate and under idling conditions. OorjaPac(TM) addresses a number of critical problems faced by the material handling vehicle users. These include:

  • Low runtime with batteries on a single charge, resulting in the need to purchase and maintain multiple batteries per vehicle and conduct multiple battery swaps in order to get through one full day of operation
  • Significant vehicle and labor downtime during non productive activities such as battery swapping, resulting in reduced operational productivity
  • Reduced battery life due to inadequate charging and cooling processes
  • High operational costs associate with the incumbent approach, namely maintaining real estate for battery swapping/charging rooms and the labor associated with the battery swapping process

Operating as an onboard battery charger, OorjaPac(TM) addresses all of these concerns and provides a compelling ROI. OorjaPac provides sufficient energy for a two-shift operation on a single four-gallon liquid methanol canister with refueling taking less than two minutes. The net result is an operation with increased productivity and reduced capital and operational expenditure.

Pilot programs with Fortune 50 customers have confirmed what material handling managers have long desired: realize time, labor and cost saving by cutting the cord on existing grid-dependent technology. OorjaPac(TM) users can expect payback within 18-24 months of installation.

"OorjaPac(TM) represents a quantum leap forward in affordable fuel cell technology," said Sanjiv Malhotra, Founder and CEO of Oorja Protonics. "This patented direct methanol fuel cell is ideally suited for resource and time constrained environments where material handling equipment such as forklifts and pallet loaders are used. Our product is well positioned to displace compressed gas and plug-in battery systems as the technology of choice in a multi-billion dollar market."

OorjaPac has successfully demonstrated in a variety of markets and applications, including:

  • Retail
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution Centers
  • Aviation
  • Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs)

One such customer is the New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. - a joint manufacturing facility shared by General Motors and Toyota (NUMMI). Ernesto Gonzalez-Beltran, Senior Vice President of Manufacturing Operations at NUMMI had this to say, "In an increasingly competitive global market, savings of even minutes can scale dramatically. OorjaPac(TM) is an undeniable technological advance in that it helps us eliminate literally hours of non-productive down time while reducing our plant's carbon footprint. We are very pleased with the results of our partnership with Oorja over the last fifteen months during which we've had the opportunity to test several generations of their product at our facility. OorjaPac(TM) is a tremendous win-win proposition for the automotive and other heavy manufacturing industry."

"Our customers, which include global tier-1 production facilities and distribution centers, couldn't be happier with the results they have already realized in real-world pilot programs and are already ramping up for a much larger rollout of OorjaPac(TM) powered equipment," said Malhotra. "We are confident that these results will be just as dramatic for our growing base of new OorjaPac(TM) users for 2008 and beyond."

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