Melbourne is fast on its way to becoming Australia’s hydrogen (H2) hub, with two H2 fuel cell forklifts being trialled at Toyota Australia’s former manufacturing site in Altona.

The Toyota Material Handling fuel cell forklifts are the first to be used by Toyota outside of Japan.

The zero co2-emission Toyota H2 fuel cell forklift demonstration is an extension of Toyota’s simultaneous trial for its Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV), which share the same H2-powered technology.

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Toyota Material Handling Australia’s General Manager of Corporate Compliance and Project Development, Bob Walmsley, said the hydrogen FC forklifts will be used to move parts around the Toyota Parts Centre at the Altona site.

“The forklifts have a much quicker refuelling time - they only take around three minutes to fill the H2 tank compared to eight hours to recharge a conventional battery,” Walmsley said. “This means we can use these forklifts more often.”

Like the Mirai, the fuel cell forklifts will be refuelled at Toyota’s mobile refueller at Altona.

On top of emitting zero CO2, Walmsley said in the long run, the forklifts will also be very cost effective.

“When a sustainable energy source like solar, wind and water is used to produce the H2, there is a high potential for energy cost savings.”

“With conventional forklift special care is needed when charging and maintaining the battery, whereas a fuel cell forklift is considered simpler when it comes to refuelling and scheduled maintenance.”

The forklifts will be shipped to Sydney next month to make an appearance at the official opening of the new Toyota Parts Centre in Kemp’s Creek in Western Sydney.

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Source: Toyota Material Handling