BMW Plant’s Trucks, Lifts Powered by Hydrogen Fuel Cells
The 4 million-square-foot production facility now powers its entire hydrogen-fuel cell fleet of more than 230 units to service the plant’s production and logistics functions, according to the companies.
The hydrogen is a by-product of a sodium chlorate plant that Linde purifies, compresses and liquefies using electricity produced from renewable hydropower.
In 2010, Linde supplied a hydrogen fueling system with six indoor dispenser stations to support more than 100 pieces of material handling equipment operating inside BMW’s plant. The expansion includes two new higher-throughput compressors, new storage tubes and distribution piping, and eight new hydrogen dispensers. To date, there have been more than 200,000 hydrogen fuelings at the site.
The lifts and trucks deliver process parts to assembly machines throughout the plant. The lead acid batteries that formerly powered lifts and trucks were replaced with hydrogen fuel cells from Plug Power, a provider of hydrogen-based fuel cells in the material handling market.
BMW says the expansion boosts productivity in two ways: refueling these trucks with hydrogen using Linde’s equipment takes an operator less than three minutes, compared with 15 to 20 minutes to change out a battery. Also, fuel cells do not degrade over time, as do lead-acid batteries when they begin losing their charge toward the end of a shift.
BMW also expects to reduce its total electricity demand, since no battery recharging is required, and eliminate the environmental disposal costs for lead acid batteries.
For its newest retail distribution center in Wilmer, Texas, Ace Hardware will deploy 65 GenDrive fuel cell units from Plug Power for its fleet of electric lift trucks, Energy Manager Today reported earlier this month.
Stay Up-to-Date On Environmental Management, Energy & Sustainability News with EL's Free Daily Newsletter
Energy Manager News
- Less Time Delay with LEDs Promises More Savings
- 5 Steps for Guaranteeing the Best Lighting Upgrade in Industrial Facilities
- Energy Awards Offers 7 Entry Tips from Judges
- Wind Powers 35% of Washington DC Government
- Walmart, Others Seek to Back Out of Florida Energy-Efficiency Program
- Energy Intelligence on a Smart Watch’s Small Screen
- Optimizing Set Points, Equipment Controls Saves 6% in Energy
- McKinstry Wins $5.8M ESPC with Texas County