Wal-Mart Continues Fuel Cell Project

The Wal-Mart distribution center in Grove City, Ohio, received a visit from Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor Bruce Johnson where he viewed a fuel cell project in operation. The project, a consortium led by Cellex Power Products Corp. (British Columbia), which replaces lead acid batteries used by lift trucks with fuel cell power systems, will receive a $1 million grant through the Third Frontier Fuel Cell Initiative, a special project in Ohio.

"Ohio has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to fuel cell technology since the inception of the Third Frontier Project in 2002," said Johnson, who also serves as Director of the Ohio Department of Development. "Projects like this one, which is good for Ohio businesses and workers and for the environment, are proof that this technology is viable in our state."

Fourteen Cellex fuel cell power units fueled indoors with hydrogen supplied by BOC, a member of The Linde Group, are operating in two Ohio Wal-Mart DCs for four months. The objective of this trial is to demonstrate whether Cellex fuel cell products provide superior performance and health and safety benefits compared to incumbent lead acid battery technology for businesses operating large fleets of lift trucks.

Wal-Mart Executive Vice President of Logistics and Supply Chain, Johnnie Dobbs said, "One of Wal-Mart’s environmental goals is to increase the efficiency of our existing facilities in a number of areas." Dobbs added, "Embracing new technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells will play an important role in defining how successful we are."

In addition to consortium players, the project has other Ohio ties. New Bremen based Crown Equipment Corporation; the largest electric lift truck manufacturer in North America has supplied pallet trucks for the Grove City DC. Ohio based OKI Systems, a leading lift truck servicing dealer is providing service and support. Cellex CX-P150 units use Mark9 SSL fuel cell stacks from Ballard Power Systems Inc., world leader in design, development and manufacture of zero-emission proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells.

Tom Hoying, Cellex vice president, sales and marketing said, "Wal-Mart’s leadership in testing hydrogen fuel cells is very important not only for the material handling sector but also for the global environment." Hoying added, "Cellex’s CX-P150 power units currently in use at these two Wal-Mart DCs increase productivity by enabling trucks to stay on the floor longer and provide environmental benefits such as eliminating handling of lead and acid required with industrial batteries." Hoying said, "If this test meets everyone’s expectations, with Wal-Mart’s size and global presence, they’re in position to make significant reductions in greenhouse gases and criteria air contamination on a global scale.

Cellex estimates the project will create more than 100 jobs by 2011.

Source: Cellex Power Products Corp.

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