Air Liquide Industrial U.S. LP is set to supply hydrogen to power a fleet of 37 forklift vehicles at Coca-Cola’s bottling and distribution centre in San Leandro, California, after signing a new agreement with the company.

Air Liquide will not only provide the liquid hydrogen and necessary filling station, but will also be providing the infrastructure to power the forklift fleet at Coca-Cola’s 250,000 square foot facility.

Hydrogen fuel cell powered forklift trucks represent an important segment of the hydrogen energy market, as gasworld has previously highlighted via its 2010 interview of the month with Air Products.

These types of vehicles are virtually greenhouse gas emissions free. Using these vehicles can help the Coca-Cola save 1.6 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually by removing the infrastructure associated with traditional lead-acid batteries.

The newly announced agreement is Air Liquide’s second hydrogen fuelling installation of this type in North America that combines the hydrogen supply and refilling expertise of Air Liquide with Plug Power’s GenDrive® fuel cell solution. The first such agreement was Air Liquide’s forklift installation at Walmart Canada’s sustainable distribution centre in Alberta, Canada.

Last year saw Air Liquide provide more than 40,000 hydrogen fills worldwide and the hydrogen and filling infrastructure for transit buses at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Michael J. Graff, President & CEO of American Air Liquide Holdings, Inc. and member of the Air Liquide Group Executive Committee, explained, “Air Liquide continues to pave the way in providing innovative technology and demonstrated solutions for global challenges such as energy efficiency and environmental responsibility. The Coca-Cola installation is the latest to validate hydrogen as a practical and commercially viable fuel source and Air Liquide’s leading role in this growing global market.”

Brian P. Kelly, Product Supply Leader, Coca-Cola Refreshments, added, “Sustainability is a core component of our business at Coca-Cola and we have a goal to be the beverage industry leader in energy conservation and climate protection.”

“Converting to hydrogen fuel cell powered forklifts in our San Leandro facility represents one more step towards our commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 15% by 2020.”

Air Liquide is also involved in other hydrogen partnerships across the world, including the provision of one hydrogen station in Oslo, Norway to supply five buses from a Norwegian transportation company. Meanwhile, in Japan, the company has recently delivered two other hydrogen filling stations including one for the regional government of Saga to demonstrate the feasibility of a complete ‘green hydrogen’ chain from wood chips to clean mobility.