A tier one player was involved in the roll-out of a major first in France in recent weeks, when a supply chain platform powered by hydrogen-fuelled forklift trucks was deployed on 5th January.

A latest generation hydrogen station developed and installed by Air Liquide was used for the first time to fill two hydrogen forklift trucks, for the supply chain platform of Air Liquide Welding.

The deployment of the first power lift trucks in France running on hydrogen-powered fuel cells comes on the heels of the recent agreement reached between Plug Power and Axane/Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy.

It is part of a larger project aimed at upgrading the Vatry platform.

In all, ten of these hydrogen forklift trucks will equip this platform in just a few weeks.

In addition to the reduction in CO2 emissions, supply chain platforms equipped with hydrogen solutions can lead to productivity gains of around 10% compared with conventional battery-driven power lift trucks, thanks to multiple replenishment points and rapid fill-up capability.

The joint enterprise formed by Plug Power and Axane (a subsidiary of the Air Liquide Group) will ensure the development, production and marketing in Europe of a line of hydrogen fuel cells for power lift trucks. For Europe alone, the development potential of this market is estimated to be around 10,000 units by 2015.