Hydrogen fuel cell-powered ground support equipment debuted at the Memphis International Airport this spring, marking the beginning of a two-year demonstration project at Federal Express’s airport hub location.
The 15-vehicle fleet is expected to save more than 175,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 1,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to the US Department of Energy. The project is funded through a $2.5 million grant from the DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO), with a matching $2.5 million cost share from private sector partners.
Plug Power, which is based in Latham, New York, provided the fuel cell systems, which were integrated into the cargo tugs of leading airport utility vehicle developer Charlatte America. The hydrogen is supplied by Plug Power’s hydrogen delivery systems. The cargo truck, which looks like a golf cart (pictured), is capable of pulling 40,000 pounds of cargo without generating emissions.
The DOE’s investment into hydrogen and fuel cells research and development has led to more than 500 patents, 40 commercial technologies on the market and 65 emerging technologies that are expected to hit the marketplace in three to five years.