A year after Air Liquide Industrial U.S. LP revealed it was to supply liquid hydrogen, filling stations and infrastructure to power a fleet of forklift vehicles at Coca-Cola’s site in California, the two companies have now held a ‘green ribbon cutting’ inauguration ceremony.

The event, hosted by Coca-Cola at its bottling and distribution centre in San Leandro, California, was held to inaugurate the fleet of Air Liquide’s hydrogen-powered forklifts.

Speaking in front of a colourful mosaic wall of soft drink cases arranged to spell ‘Blue Hydrogen’ and ‘Live Positively’ the President of Air Liquide Industrial U.S., Mark Lostak, commended Coca-Cola for its commitment to sustainability and carbon emission reduction.

Blue hydrogen presentation.

Source: Air Liquide

He said, “Air Liquide has always worked closely with leading companies like Coca-Cola to find new ways to use our gases and technologies to make their operations safer, more efficient and more sustainable. What’s really exciting is to see applications such as this which combine technology and science to provide sustainable solutions that make good economic sense.”

Air Liquide is providing on-site gaseous hydrogen storage and infrastructure, with interior fuelling capability to Coca-Cola’s 37 forklifts and 19 pallet jacks at the 500,000 square foot centre. The fill process takes less than half the time it took previously to swap out a depleted lead-acid battery.

In addition to faster refuelling and reduced electricity and storage space requirements, hydrogen fuel cells allow forklifts to operate at full capacity between fills, unlike lead battery lifts that perform slower as battery life nears depletion.

In its own press release about the event in early February, Coca-Cola also explained that hydrogen fuel cell forklifts increase productivity by up to 15% on average and lower operational costs by up to 30%. The soft drinks giant also explained that the implementation of hydrogen as an energy fuel adds to its ongoing sustainability initiatives.

The alternatively-fuelled equipment is in fact the latest addition to Coca-Cola’s growing alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) fleet in California. “We are dedicated to expanding our AFV fleet and continue to look for innovative ways to move and deliver Coca-Cola products throughout California,” said Rene Hom, Coca-Cola Northwest Region Vice-President of Field Operations and Supply Chain.

“The addition of hydrogen-powered fork lifts and pallet jacks to our current 125-AFV fleet in California further strengthens our ongoing commitment to energy conservation, recycling and zero waste, while driving down operating costs and improving process efficiencies.”