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Field trial kicks off with arrival of trucks

Thursday, 12 Dec 2013 ( #646 ) - Leipzig, Germany
News Story
The tow trucks and forklifts with fuel cell hybrid drive are fuelled with carbon-neutrally produced hydrogen.
Linde Material Handling has handed over a fleet of four tow tractors and five counterbalance trucks with fuel cell hybrid drive to the BMW plant in Leipzig, Germany as part of a government-funded project.

In a research project sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Transport, the two Linde E35 FC forklifts, three Linde E25 FC forklifts and four Linde P30C tow tractors are powered by green-certified hydrogen and will be used to supply parts in body production of BMW vehicles ( News #639). Green-certified hydrogen means that during the production of the hydrogen only a certain percentage of carbon dioxide is allowed to be released.

The chair for material handling, material flow and logistics (fml) at Munich Technical University is evaluating the field trial, which will occur under realistic production conditions.

"The fuel cell will prevail as a key propulsion technology in intralogistics," says Theodor Maurer, CEO of Linde Material Handling. "With the H2IntraDrive, we are taking an important step towards making hydrogen-powered industrial trucks ready for industrial scale."

The fuel cell hybrid system used in the Linde vehicles can be refuelled within a few minutes and requires relatively little maintenance. The resulting higher availability of the industrial trucks and tractors is advantageous in multi-shift operations. Energy recovered during braking is stored in the lithium-ion battery of the hybrid system and released again during load peaks, while the fuel cell provides the basic power.

Plant manager Dr Milan Nedeljkovic says that sustainability is a "top priority" for the BMW i. "This applies both to the product and to the way it is manufactured. Therefore, fuel cell vehicles with certified green hydrogen as an energy carrier are just perfect for the BMW Plant Leipzig."

Germany's first indoor hydrogen refuelling station was installed in BMW i body production. Linde Material Handling former parent, the Linde Group, set up the infrastructure and ensures the supply of hydrogen produced from renewable resources. The fml Chair at the Technical University of Munich will be evaluating the environmental sustainability and economic efficiency of the fuel cell vehicles in everyday use.

The Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development is supporting the research project under the National Innovation Program for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology with a grant of EUR2.9 million (USD3.9 million). The project will run until April 2016 or longer, a Linde MH spokesperson says.
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