Air Force Base Officially Kicks Off Fuel-cell Lift Truck Project

WARNER ROBINS, Ga.—On July 24, the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) officially kicked off its previously announced fuel-cell lift truck program at Robins Air Force Base.

The Defense Depot Warner Robins (DDWG) teamed up with the DLA Research and Development program to introduce the second in a series of pilot projects to demonstrate the use of hydrogen fuel cells in lift trucks.

Concurrent Technologies Corp. is the lead contractor for the two-year project. Air Products and Chemicals Inc. and Hydrogenics will partner with Concurrent to retrofit 20 lift trucks with hydrogen fuel cells, which will replace traditional batteries.

The hydrogen to power the vehicles will be reformed on site from natural gas. A mobile refueling station will be used to refuel the lift trucks for daily warehouse operations. The natural-gas reformer, hydrogen fueling station and dispensing module will be 15 by 18 feet and will produce up to 2,000 standard cubic feet per hour of 99.999% pure hydrogen at 125 psig. Storage capacity will be 150 kilograms of hydrogen at 7,000 psig.

"One immediate operational benefit will be the elimination of the need to recharge batteries," says Dan Markiewicz, director of advanced energy programs at Concurrent Technologies Corp.

"This is an important next step in our nation's evolution towards alternative fuels,” says Leo Plonsky, DLA research and development program manager for hydrogen and fuel cells. “There are a lot of technologies out there, but you have to transition them from the laboratory to the warehouse floor.”

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