Air Products and Suzuki Shokan have jointly announced the signing of an ‘Alliance Agreement’ for the two companies to work together on the design, construction and operation of hydrogen fuelling stations.

The newly constructed stations for use in fuelling the material handling vehicle market in Japan. 

Air Products and Suzuki Shokan, an industrial gas company based in Tokyo, Japan, will take Air Products’ proven hydrogen fuelling technology and work jointly to make any needed infrastructure modifications in order to meet Japanese laws and regulations.  As part of the Alliance, the companies also agreed to a standard Equipment, Engineering and License for Suzuki Shokan’s purchase and use of key equipment to be supplied by Air Products for the implementation of Air Products’ SmartFuel® hydrogen fuelling station technology.

“We have a great deal of experience supporting the material handling market with hydrogen fuelling technology and related infrastructure.  This Alliance with Suzuki Shokan is a tremendous opportunity to work with a recognised leader in the Japanese industrial gas market to serve the material handling industry in that region of the world.  Japan’s keen interest in hydrogen fuelling for the automotive market provides a natural extension to hydrogen fuelling for material handling.  Working with Suzuki Shokan, we can meet the needs of this market,” said Ed Kiczek, global business director – Hydrogen Energy Systems at Air Products.  Kiczek added that the Alliance is already in discussion with multiple high-profile customers for the first deployment.

“We believe that the execution of this agreement is a significant step towards the upcoming hydrogen society. Suzuki Shokan possesses hydrogen handling technology and know-how through a long history of supplying the hydrogen business. Such technology and know-how includes engineering, equipment and parts design, construction of piping and knowledge about laws and safety regulations. It is our understanding that fully utilising such technology, know-how, nationwide sales and marketing resources acquired in our long history, in conjunction with Air Products’ most advanced technology, will make fuel cell powered forklifts steadily accepted by the Japanese market,” said Yoji Koguchi, managing director in charge of Toyota Factory.

Koguchi added that the driving power for the material handling vehicle (forklift) market in Japan is being shifted from internal combustion engines to batteries which are considered environmentally cleaner. Development and practical use of fuel cells in material handling applications have already started in the country.

A leader in providing hydrogen fuelling and the related infrastructure to the material handling market, Air Products’ SmartFuel® technology is safely fuelling over 2,500 pieces of material handling equipment on a daily basis in the US Air Products is currently supplying over 20 material handling sites in the US and is dispensing hydrogen indoors at nearly 70 dispensers, with some of these units dispensing hydrogen over 100 times per day.  Air Products has been fuelling material handling units at industrial manufacturers, food distribution warehouses and automotive manufacturing plants since 2007.