News story

Auto maker gets refueling system for hydrogen power

Thursday, 18 October 2012 ( #587 ) - Tuscaloosa, AL, United States
Installing hydrogen refueling infrastructure from Air Products & Chemicals Inc is enabling an automotive maker to fully utilise fuel-cell-converted materials handling equipment.

Mercedes-Benz US International, in Tuscaloosa, purchased 72 GenDrive-brand hydrogen fuel cell units from Plug Power Inc to power some of the automotive plant's internal fleet.

Reid Hislop, a spokesman for Plug Power, of Latham, New York, says: "We worked directly with Mercedes in the equipment conversion. All 72 trucks were Hysters: 34 Class 1 forklifts and 38 Class 3 tuggers." The GenDrive units replace lead-acid batteries.

Air Products, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, installed an outdoor liquid hydrogen storage and compression system and piping to multiple indoor fueling dispensers.

Mercedes started daily operations moving vehicle parts for assembly when employees returned to the manufacturing facility from an annual week-long summer shutdown.

Sarah Hammond, business development manager for Air Products' hydrogen energy systems, says: "This was a tall order to complete in six weeks from the signing of the contract but, with safety being the absolute first priority, we had the market experience to successfully make this happen for Mercedes."

Air Products' systems provide hydrogen fuel for more than 1,000 pieces of materials handling equipment daily in the US, the company says.

Mercedes-Benz US, an operation of Daimler AG of Stuttgart, Germany, announced plans for the Tuscaloosa plant in 1995 and began production in 1997.
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