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Hydrogen fuel cell forklifts
  • exalt
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Whats peoples opinion of Hydrogen fuel cell forklifts
  • Posted 24 Dec 2016 08:09 PM
Total replies: 22. Showing items 1 - 20 of 22 results.
So far all of my customers who are using hydrogen fuel cells are not thrilled with it. Although the solution looks and sounds good on paper, be sure to do your homework before moving forward with this solution. The two main complaints I have heard from customers are that the upfront costs of getting setup are through the roof (many hidden costs) and the maintenance (upkeep) of the fuel cells thus far has been a nightmare! One customer has such a high level of maintenance on their fuel cells that a technician from the fuel cell manufacture is onsite 40 hours a week.
Anyone who is looking at hydrogen fuel cells as a solution, I would strongly recommend also look into BYD (Iron Phosphate battery) forklifts as their solution provides the same perks as hydrogen but without all of the headaches.
  • Posted 30 Dec 2016 03:10 AM
  • exalt
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The BYD truck is good but i would not say it was a solution to the problem. Charging time of the battery is still a problem for some customers and its only on small forklifts what about above 5 ton. Quite an interesting point on the fuel cell tho , Do you see this becoming less of a problem with fuel cells becoming better
  • Posted 1 Jan 2017 01:07 AM
With the amount of tech going into automotive batteries, i feel this is where the forklift world will be heading, as they usually hang on the coat tails of the automotive world.
Forklifts and big heavy batteries are ideal bed fellows, with good battery ratios and correct battery maintenance and charging management, i feel it's all a bit of a gimmick.
The BYD truck is interesting, but if it's so good, why are none of the mainstream truck companies jumping on the bandwagon, this is not to do down BYD or the Chinese industry, but the industry is so close knit, i cannot see one manufacturer having an massive advantage over another for any significant length of time.
  • Posted 4 Jan 2017 09:53 AM
  • exalt
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates
From the people I have spoken to they all say the BYD truck is a good truck,as BYD own the pattents on the battery technology I can't see the mainstream manufacture getting these batteries.

As for fuel cell this market will grow now Toyota are investing in this area
  • Posted 5 Jan 2017 04:53 PM
When will the patents run out, my understanding was they only last 10 years.
  • Posted 5 Jan 2017 09:29 PM

My understanding is that Jungheinrich (and by association MCFA) are actively promoting Lithium powered Class 1,2,3 trucks in the EU and NA market. Hyster-Yale also announced an 8 or 10 (sorry can't remember, but I did read the presser) Ton Lithium Powered truck for the EU market only (for now). H-Y also use Lithium for their 4000# pallet trucks. Raymond has a development agreement with Brammo and Crown has a development agreement with Alelion.

BYD's strategic advantage is that they have designed their truck around Li-Ion use. The traditional manufacturers are going to have some hurdles to [url removed] they run two production lines (Lead-Acid trucks and Lithium trucks)? Very expensive. It's likely that they keep to business as usual, and secure a drop-in Lithium supplier for their Lead-Acid trucks, but again, they will suffer a capacity disadvantage, because of BYD's design. I pencil out about 43 kW of power with BYD's 80volt, 600AH set up. In a 6000# 4 wheel sitdown. The best we can do with a Lead-Acid version is about 27 kW. Check my math, these are rough numbers.

I've commented on Fuel Cells, so let me just summarize and write they present many [url removed] I understand the 30% Federal Tax Credit was not passed, so there's another [url removed]
  • Posted 6 Jan 2017 03:14 AM
Another huge advantage for the BYD product is their battery warranty which is 10 years / 20,000 hours - FULL battery replacement (with NO fine warranty print). This is important to point out because as other lift manufactures are playing catch up with BYD they are "trying" to introduce lithium-ion batteries, whereas BYD is using lithium iron phosphate batteries. To most people this does not sound like a big difference but realistically it's a day and night comparison with two of the largest factors being:

HEAT - In a nutshell lithium-ion is a good battery technology (due to it's weight and size charistics) for small portable devices that do not consume a lot of power (ie. laptops, cell phones, etc) but it's major weakness is that it does not manage it's heat well which can and will lead to a thermal runaway (hoverboards, samsung phones). Iron phosphate (LiFePO4) on the other hand (due to it's chemistry) has thermal stability and operates at a room temperature without issues.

DURABILITY - The durability/life of a battery is based on the number of charge/discharge cycles it will survive through. Iron Phosphate outperforms lithium-ion with over double the amount of charge/discharge cycles along with also providing a much longer self life (holding charge) if not being used.

I won't even get into all the safety/environmental differences other than mentioning that lithium-ion uses a fun little chemical called cobalt...

Due to these differences (and MANY more) it is easy to understand why we have yet to see any lithium-ion batteries that are even coming close to the warranty being offered by BYD.
  • Posted 6 Jan 2017 03:42 PM
Lift trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells are an effective materials handling solution to address evolving industry trends in distribution and fulfillment, with several developments paving the way for greater commercial adoption.
  • Posted 12 Jan 2017 07:28 PM
Care to mention what the "several developments paving the way for greater commercial adoption" are as I believe for most organizations who have multiple facilities, the startup costs alone that are required to be absorbed by each facility kill this idea before it even gets started.
  • Posted 18 Jan 2017 09:45 AM
  • toller
  • British Columbia, Canada
With over 65 facilities fully converted in the US and over 13,000 fuel cell units in service, I think it's fair to say it has started.

As someone else in this thread mentioned, any battery, even Li-ion, will alway require long recharging times and for multi-shift Distribution centers this downtime costs money in terms of productivity. Sure you could add fast chargers and get this down to 20-30 minutes but that still is a lot longer then 2-3 minutes for a hydrogen fuel cell. Not to mention the peak demand electric charges that would result.
  • Posted 20 Jan 2017 03:53 AM
It is hard to believe that people still think Hydrogen power is the way to go. Fuel cell technology was an interesting idea at one time but as Ballard has shown, it's just not practical for maintenance, infrastructure and safety. Do people not know that this fuel is stored at 10,000 PSI at the filling point and on the forklift. Think what would happen if the fuel container ruptured; probably a massive massive explosion. Hydrogen is lighter than air and any leak in a warehouse would result in Hydrogen collecting at the ceiling just waiting for a spark. Hydrogen will ignite in a broad range of mixtures so a leak is a catastrophe. The waste product from a fuel cell is basically pure water which is highly corrosive. When people consider using Hydrogen don't they consider the properties?
  • Posted 20 Jan 2017 07:40 AM
  • toller
  • British Columbia, Canada
First off, the pressure in forklift trucks is 5000 psi not 10,000 psi. How has Ballard shown what you claim?

In terms of safety, how exactly would a tank rupture? The H2 tank is encased inside the fuel cell unit which is covered in thick steel plates which is usually surrounded by the fork truck. The chance of tank rupturing is very, very remote.

Furthermore, each fuel cell power unit is designed according to safety standards which includes rigorous design and testing of the tank. Then each installation must meet the local installation safety codes and then be passed off by the local fire marshall.

No fuel is 100% safe. All fuels explode when combined with a suitable reactant and a spark. LPG is stored in a compressed tank and when it leaks, being heavier then air, it pools. But we have no problem putting these tanks right underneath open flames in our BBQs on our decks beside where our kids play.

As many studies and tests have shown hydrogen is safer then other fuels.

The water being produced being "highly corrosive" is incorrect. The water is deionized and can be poured down the drain with no treatment. Dasani (and other) used to sell deionized water for drinking but it tasted horrible so they added minerals back into it. Now it says remineralized.
  • Posted 20 Jan 2017 08:42 AM
Toller - The BYD battery does not have a long charge time, as when the battery is fully depleted a full charge is accomplished in 90 mins or it can be opportunity charged all day, every day with no harmful effect of the overall life of battery. The BYD battery also requires NO watering, NO equalization charges, and NO cool down after being charged. Their battery produces no heat and contains zero heavy metals or hazard chemicals, therefore making their battery (fuel) 100% safe! Because BYD is using Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) technology in their batteries, it gives them MANY advantages over lead acid or Lithium ion batteries.
One last item to consider, what type of warranty is being offered on a brand new hydrogen fuel cell? BYD's warranty is 10 years / 20,000 hours - FULL battery replacement! I would think if the hydrogen fuel cells are as wonderful as you mentioned that they would have come with a warranty to back up their claims.
  • Posted 20 Jan 2017 09:56 AM
  • toller
  • British Columbia, Canada
For some customers, the BYD (or lead acid) battery solution will be the best bet and I wish them success. However, if you are a 24/7 operation and you make money by how much material you move, a 90 min charge, 40 min charge or 20 min charge costs you more money than a 2-3 min charge. Multiply that by 200-300 fork trucks and 360 d/y and that ends up being a lot of time and money wasted either changing batteries or having the trucks sit while being charged. For many customers, those savings are greater then the added upfront and maintenance costs of a fuel cell solution. At least that's what Wal-Mart, Sysco, Kroger have determined and I'm thinking they have fairly good accountants.

Any to clarify, BYD's battery is a lithium ion battery. Iron Phosphate is just one of many types of Li-ion battery chemistries.
  • Posted 20 Jan 2017 10:17 AM
toller - To clarify a little more, you are correct that Iron Phosphate is classified under the "Lithium" family but if you compare Iron Phosphate to Lithium-Ion (chemistry and attributes) they are opposite ends of the spectrum. For example Lithium-Ion has a HUGE problem heat, Not only does it create a ton of heat but it also can not manage it's heat properly, thus causing a thermal runaway which leads to smoking, fires, and/or explosions (ie. hoverboards, cell phones, laptops, etc.). Iron Phosphate on the other hand creates virtually no heat whatever no matter how hard the battery is used or charged. That is only one example of the many differences but if you would like to learn about more of them, feel free to ask.
While we are still clarifying, the BYD forklift does NOT need to be charged for 20 minutes to gain power back to the forklift, in fact the minute you plug into the charger you start putting power back into the battery. The rule of thumb is for every one minute of charging you receive one percent of battery power back in the battery.
Last point of clarification (I promise), once again you are correct that Wal-Mart, Kroger, Sysco and others have done hydrogen at some of their facilities BUT it is also important to acknowledge that many of installs/setups happened not because hydrogen is the superior solution but instead because the federal government was giving away many incentives and tax credits making it difficult for those "good accountants" not to bite. The bad news is all of these incentives expired December 31, 2016 and the discussion for new incentives seems to have fizzled out. Around 2010-2011 (when hydrogen still sounded like a good idea) it was widely projected that by 2020 there would be over 5,000 hydrogen fueling stations throughout the US for cars, buses, forklifts, etc., sadly as of today the US department of energy's website only lists 33 fueling stations still in operation and only 3 of them are outside of California. On the other hand there is 15,297 electric fueling stations throughout the US. As someone else stated in an earlier post, there was a day when hydrogen sounded like the way of the future, unfortunately that was 2011 and the tide has changed.
  • Posted 20 Jan 2017 01:34 PM
  • toller
  • British Columbia, Canada
Yup the expiration of the ITC is going to hurt the value proposition, however I will point out that a number of DCs in Canada have converted to hydrogen FCs and we have no such tax credit here. I'm not sure why you brought up the car issue as it is irrelevant to the conversation we are having on battery vs FC lift trucks. By this logic, the space shuttle should have used BYD batteries because they are better regardless of the application.

What I do know for sure is that our opinions don't matter in the big scheme of things. Only the end users will decide if the tide has changed.
  • Posted 20 Jan 2017 05:28 PM
The winner is……..LiFePO4. Why? Tesla does not mass produce a hydrogen fuel cell car. ****, nobody does.
Why is Hydrogen fuel even still discussed ? Political economics. The largest deposits of lithium in the world are #1 Chile and #2 you got it, China. Commodities will always be politicized for economic gain.
Also, the latest and greatest chemistry will be lithium/sulphur with a higher power density than Li Ion. Sorry i went all geo political, it's just that time of year.

To open a shop is easy, to keep it open is an art.
  • Posted 20 Jan 2017 06:06 PM
Logic. The majority of cars and FL's have been traditionally been powered by ICE's with a trend towards battery power. It's interesting you mentioned the space shuttle. It's powered by liquid hydrogen fuel.

To open a shop is easy, to keep it open is an art.
  • Posted 20 Jan 2017 06:34 PM
No mames Sparky! The space shuttle used liquid hydrogen fuel? I thought those smoke plumes were just for show...
This thread was about hydrogen fuel cells but got hijacked by battery sales people.
From experience, I'm seeing 200 more fuel cells added to a new DC here, a stone's throw from from I live. They had the choice of battery
but chose to continue with Hydrogen fuel cells. They are getting better. First off, they eliminated the giant battery room that consumed lots of real estate. The maintenance of battery bulls, watering systems, racking, lost time for driver's waiting in line to change batteries at a single spot in the DC. Yes, take in to account the time they have to drive getting there, wait in line, then replace a [url removed] be half an hour or more.
Now HFC filling stations are throughout the DC.
Then, there is the damage batteries can cause to trucks. Plugs wear out from constant unhooking, get broken or crushed. Batteries get tired, some worse than others, and it causes driver's to lose time because their battery lasted only 4 hrs. I've seen many batches of new batteries come in, with 25% failing early on. Driver's knew which batteries were duds, and avoided them. batteries caused many failures in electronics by going too low in voltage and too high in current.
Hydrogen fuel cells produce the same voltage throughout their cycle, and have proven to much friendlier to forklift electronics.
Someone mentioned the safety [url removed] many battery maintenance people are hurt from fumes, acid, spills, crushed fingers?
You need 3 batteries per 24 shift, just one HFC.
Batteries have not evolved much in a 100 years. If we keep making them, where do they end up?
  • Posted 23 Jan 2017 01:13 AM
  • exalt
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Just a couple of points first if Tesla produced the number of electric cars they plan it would use around 80 percent of the world lithium.

Second many automotive manufactures like Toyota, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Hyundai are all going hydrogen fuel [url removed] for the safety many forklifts drive round with gas tanks on back

By 2021 around 60 percent of the small truck market will be hydrogen fuel cell, and this will be higher on larger forklift when they have this [url removed] you look at the fuel cost over time hydrogen is a fraction of diesel

I have seen a video were Marks & Spencer use a hydrogen fuel cell truck the result against battery trucks was much better.

Hydrogen fuel can be produced by green energy on site at a much lower cost than a standard electric.

Many electric truck manufacture will try to convert electric trucks into hydrogen fuel cell. Only Toyota from what I have seen are developing a true hydrogen fuel cell truck
  • Posted 25 Jan 2017 01:53 AM
  • • Modified 25 Jan 2017 03:05 AM by poster
Total replies: 22. Showing items 1 - 20 of 22 results.

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