Air Liquide has been chosen by FM Logistic, an international group whose expertise lies in logistics and supply chains, to provide support for its projected deployment of hydrogen-powered forklift trucks.

At the Neuville-aux-Bois logistics platform, located near the city of Orléans (France), Air Liquide installed a hydrogen charging station that will initially service 10 forklifts equipped with hydrogen fuel cells.

Eventually, the site’s 84 forklifts could switch to hydrogen, which would make it the first logistics hub in Europe to convert its entire fleet of forklift trucks to hydrogen.

The use of hydrogen at logistics hubs was first developed in the US and Canada, with more than 6,000 forklift trucks so far that run on hydrogen. The busy Neuville-aux-Bois (70 000 sq.m.) facility in France has been chosen to serve as the pilot platform.

Other FM Logistic hubs could be similarly equipped in the future, gasworld understands.

The current project is the result of a cooperative effort involving the partners of the HAWL (Hydrogen And Warehouse Logistics) Project, financed in part with the European Union (EU). Several partners are working together on this project:

  • Crown and Toyota Material Handling Europe, manufacturers of forklift trucks
  • HyPulsion, which manufactures hydrogen fuel cell batteries for forklift trucks
  • Air Liquide, supplier of the hydrogen charging station and the hydrogen
  • Diagma, a services company specialised in supply chain management
  • FM Logistic, the final user of the solution and an international logistics organiser

The hydrogen batteries supplied by HyPulsion, which replace electric batteries, offer flexibility and improved productivity due to the greater autonomy that result from their use for the forklift trucks and to the fact that recharging the battery takes far less time.

Air Liquide’s hydrogen charging stations can fully recharge forklift trucks in just three minutes for 9-10 hours of autonomy.