DanTruck and H2 Logic will release a second-generation hydrogen forklift in 2010.
Forklift manufacturer DanTruck A/S and H2 Logic A/S are partnering to develop and commercialise hydrogen-powered forklifts.
According to DanTruck, forklifts are an "obvious niche market" because of their environmental impact and business potential.
DanTruck's marketing chief, Frank Rasmussen, says that the hydrogen used in one forklift can replace the CO2 equivalent of the annual emissions from eight cars in Denmark.
"A 2.5 ton LPG forklift used for 3,000 hours a year in a three-shift operation emits 27 tons of CO2. An average used car in Denmark emits 3.3 tons of CO2 a year," Rasmussen explains.
The forklift market may be a niche market compared to cars but the global forklift market is estimated to be worth over DKK150 billion (USD29.6 billion) each year. DanTruck says hydrogen refueling stations and infrastructure can be concentrated as forklifts are often used in a small geographical area.
In 2006, the partners carried out their first hydrogen forklift tests on seven Class 6 forklifts at hospitals and municipalities in Denmark. Last year, two Class 1 and Class 2 forklifts were tested at industry customer sites in Denmark.
DanTruck and H2 Logic are currently developing a second-generation hydrogen forklift that will be introduced to the market in the first quarter of 2010. The DanTruck-branded forklift will be available in the European market and its price has not been finalised.
"The focus is on Class 1 and 4 forklifts. The first trucks will be 2.5-3.5 ton trucks where fuel cell forklifts will replace ICE trucks," Rasmussen says.
H2 Logic's fuel cell system is a second-generation PEM fuel cell system that resulted from six years of research and development. The fuel cell forklift will consist of a hybrid system that includes a fuel cell and a hybrid battery pack.
Rasmussen says the system's final specifications are confidential and will be released with the first fuel cell forklift expected to be launched to the market in April 2010.
DanTruck managing director Niels Lauritzen says the forklift company is one of Europe's leading manufacturers "when it comes to quiet and environmentally-friendly forklifts".
"The use of hydrogen and fuel cells is therefore a natural step to us in order to maintain and develop this position," Lauritzen says.