For its part, HHC is developing technologies for the fuel cell forklift market and expects cost reductions and performance improvements that will help the market grow. The company is developing a low-pressure hydrogen storage system that can be refueled at standard industrial gas pressures. That should reduce fuel system cost and expand the market to facilities that can't accommodate conventional high-pressure fueling systems.
To solidify the forklift collaboration, HHC sent Adrian Narvaez to Sandia's Combustion Research Facility in California for several months. "Joe and I work together every day on the design, so it's a huge advantage to be able to work on site at Sandia," said Narvaez.
Pratt said: "If hydrogen refueling is short enough to occur during normal downtimes, such as during operator breaks, then a single hydrogen forklift can do the work of three battery packs over the course of 24 hours. That translates into a direct cost savings."
Technical, economic barriers to overcome
Today's hydrogen storage units require high pressure (5,000 pounds per square inch, or psi) to achieve a short refueling time and high pressure refueling requires an on-site compression system. "That can be a big expense, especially for a small company," Narvaez explained. "If we can provide a storage system that meets the target refueling time at, say, 500 psi, companies can get a break in the up-front costs. Plus, they no longer have to purchase battery rechargers or dedicate space for recharging. Instead, companies can simply pu
|Contact: Mike Janes|
DOE/Sandia National Laboratories