Air Products' Mobile Fueler Technology Up to the Challenge

Air Products mobile hydrogen fueler technology is proving to be up to the challenge in Columbia, S.C. where it is participating in a six-location Fuel Cell Lift Truck Demonstration Project in the Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge.

Air Products mobile fueling technology is providing hydrogen for two hydrogen powered lift trucks that have been equipped with fuel cell power packs and are performing daily use evaluations, concluding in December, at various warehouse facilities in the greater Columbia area.

"This demonstration project highlights the capability of hydrogen as an energy carrier and another diverse application for hydrogen fuel cells," said Tom Joseph, business development manager for Hydrogen Energy Systems at Air Products. "We believe hydrogen has both economic and environmental benefits for the materials handling industry. South Carolina has set some aggressive goals for using hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and we are pleased to be part of that effort."

Air Products is a leader in the development of hydrogen fueling technology and hydrogen infrastructure. It is providing the hydrogen to the fuel cell power packs, manufactured by Hydrogenics of Toronto, Canada. These packs are installed by LiftOne in electric lift trucks manufactured in Summersville, SC and are being used for deployment at six different commercial warehouse facilities.

This multiple site demonstration project is the most ambitious initiative to date funded under the sponsorship of the Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge. The Challenge is a collaborative effort between the City of Columbia, the University of South Carolina, EngenuitySC and SCRA, whose collective mission is to accelerate the deployment and adoption of a wide array of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies within the Midlands region of South Carolina. Launched in the summer of 2006, the Challenge has awarded 10 projects to date.

The materials handling industry has been identified as a near-term market opportunity with productivity, energy and environmental gains to be achieved through introducing fuel cell technologies. Hydrogen fuel cell-powered lift trucks will typically need refueling only once or twice daily, depending on use, and which usually can be completed in less than five minutes. In contrast, traditional battery-powered lift trucks must be placed temporarily out of operation for battery replacement and required battery recharging usually every four to six hours. Hydrogen fuel cell-powered lift trucks provide consistent power strength during use and do not have decreased performance as required battery change out and recharge time nears. Further, hydrogen-powered fuel cell lift trucks are more environmentally friendly, without associated lead-acid battery storage and disposal issues.

This South Carolina demonstration program is a continuation of Air Products' work in the hydrogen-powered materials handling market. In August, Air Products announced it had signed an agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency's Research and Development Program as lead contractor for a two-year demonstration program. Air Products is to develop indoor hydrogen fueling station technology infrastructure to fuel 40 hydrogen fuel cell-powered lift trucks for daily warehouse operations at the Defense Distribution Depot Susquehanna Pennsylvania. Additionally, Air Products has been participating in similar work at other material handling customer sites in the U.S. since January 2006. The projects include providing indoor and outdoor hydrogen fueling station infrastructure for fueling hydrogen-powered lift trucks and automated guided vehicles powered by hydrogen.

Air Products has placed into operation an industry-leading 21 mobile hydrogen fuelers in the United States and worldwide today. The versatile Air Products mobile hydrogen fueler comes complete with fuel storage and dispensing, and can be transported from location to location to provide hydrogen fueling for promotional demonstrations or remote endurance testing. The fueler can be remotely monitored and is designed to ensure daily, around- the-clock hydrogen vehicle fueling availability.

Air Products has more than 50 years of hydrogen experience and is on the forefront of hydrogen energy technology development. Air Products has placed over 70 fueling stations on stream in 12 countries, including for mass transit fueling in Beijing, China for buses to be used to shuttle athletes and visitors for the 2008 Olympic Games. Over 40,000 vehicle fuelings have already taken place using Air Products' technology. As the world's largest supplier of merchant hydrogen, Air Products is a leader in the development of the hydrogen infrastructure necessary to fuel hydrogen fuel cell and hydrogen internal combustion engine automobiles, HCNG (hydrogen/compressed natural gas) vehicles, and has an extensive patent portfolio with over 50 patents in hydrogen dispensing technology.

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