Nuvera Announces Next Steps To Commercialize Fuel Cells For Forklifts

March 02, 2009 by Jeff Shepard

Nuvera Fuel Cells announced the successful conclusion of their Joint Development Agreement with East Penn Manufacturing, started in November of 2004, to develop hybrid fuel cell/battery systems for Class I and II forklift trucks as an alternative to standard lead acid batteries.

The agreement seeks to produce a single product consisting of hydrogen PEM fuel cells and advanced batteries, to provide what is described as the best high productivity solution for forklift operators needing higher performance at lower operating costs. These fuel cell hybrid power products transparently replace the original lead acid batteries found in reach trucks and sit-down counterbalance trucks manufactured by leading OEMs.

Nuvera has also developed an onsite hydrogen generator and dispensing system called <I<PowerTap, to support fuel cell hybrid fleet deployments in a cost effective manner.

According to the company, in developing the fuel cell hybrid power product, a disciplined product development process was followed, involving extensive customer input and close relationships with suppliers. Instrumental was the placement of units in real life operation at the East Penn Distribution Center in Topton, Pennsylvania in 2006. The forklift operators and maintenance staff feedback were invaluable in shaping the product development. As of December 2008, the Topton distribution center has logged over 13,000 hours on 15 trucks, consuming over 5,300 kg of hydrogen with over 4,700 refilling events provided by PowerTap.

As the joint development phase concludes, Nuvera and their partner have reached a mutual agreement on fuel cell hybrid power products that meets the strategic objectives of both parties and accelerates the availability of commercial products to the marketplace.

Moving forward, East Penn will continue on their current fuel cell hybrid development path. In parallel, Nuvera will manufacture and market its own brand of fuel cell hybrid products, along with PowerTap, for truck OEMs and end customers.