Linde Material Handling's former parent company the Linde Group is supplying the hydrogen gas for the fuel cell forklift field test at BMW's Leipzig plant.
The BMW Group, Linde Material Handling and the Munich Technical University have received EUR2.8 million (USD3.9 million) in funding from the German Ministry of Transport for the field test of fuel cell industrial trucks at the BMW plant in Leipzig.
The Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development provided the grant to develop a fleet of hydrogen-powered forklifts and tow tractors. The project will run until April 2016 and is being carried out under the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP).
Linde Material Handling is providing five counterbalanced trucks and four tow tractors while its former parent company the Linde Group is the hydrogen provider.
The project, which will kick off by early December, aims to test the eco-friendly and efficient hydrogen drive system in industrial trucks under realistic production conditions and optimise it for industrial-scale production.
Charging cycles, battery replacement and the maintenance of common lead acid batteries require relatively long downtimes for conventional trucks. The fuel cell hybrid system for forklifts and tractors is refuelled very quickly and requires little maintenance.
The preparations for what Linde MH has called an unprecedented field trial in Germany are currently under way at the BMW plant in Leipzig. This involves the setup of Germany's first indoor hydrogen refuelling station in the production shop for BMW i automobiles.
Linde Material Handling is providing the industrial trucks fitted with fuel cell systems and
hydrogen tanks. The university will oversee the scientific monitoring and evaluation regarding ecological and economic sustainability while BMW will test the technology in a real production environment.
The aim of the NIP is the market preparation of products based on this future-oriented technology. Besides large-scale demonstration projects, NIP also focuses on research and development projects. The program is co-ordinated by the National Organisation Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW GmbH).