FIAMM, Nuvera to Develop Hybrid Power Pack

May 15, 2003 by Jeff Shepard

Nuvera Fuel Cells Inc. (Cambridge, MA), a leading designer and developer of fuel cell power systems, fuel processors and fuel cell stacks, and FIAMM S.p.A., one of the world's largest lead-acid battery manufacturers, announced that they will jointly develop a 7kW class hybrid battery/fuel cell power pack for industrial materials handling vehicles. The companies intend to build and market the hydrogen-fueled, zero-emission power pack for forklift trucks starting in 2005.

The new hybrid power pack consists of Nuvera's H2e™ power module, FIAMM batteries, a fuel system, a battery management system and balance of plant components. In addition to being quiet and emissions-free, the FIAMM/Nuvera system offers several advantages over conventional battery systems, including lower operating costs; lower capital costs over 10 years; reduced maintenance; and improved productivity due to high-performance, steady-state operating conditions, and the extended range afforded by the fuel cells and their "always-on" capabilities, which eliminates the need to swap out batteries for recharging and reduces operator downtime.

According to the agreement, Nuvera and FIAMM will engage in a two-year, three-phase, product development effort that will yield commercially available products as early as 2005. The multi-phase initiative will include product design for manufacturablity, prototype demonstrations and validation of business models. Upon commercialization, FIAMM will receive exclusive rights to market and sell the hybrid power packs in Europe. Other potential off-road applications for the hybrid system include industrial hauling equipment, baggage tractors, tow tractors and belt loaders.