BMW Manufacturing recently announced the expansion of its Ballard fuel cell-powered material handling fleet to 230 units at the Company's 4.0 million square foot production facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
VANCOUVER, CANADA – BMW Manufacturing recently announced the expansion of its Ballard fuel cell-powered material handling fleet to 230 units at the Company's 4.0 million square foot production facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina. In 2010 BMW completed installation of a hydrogen storage and distribution area near the plant's Energy Center to power about 100 pieces of fuel cell material handling equipment and the fleet has expanded since that time.
Josef Kerscher, President of BMW Manufacturing was quoted as saying, "BMW continues to complement its sustainable production model by adding alternative, efficient technology. Successful implementation, and ultimately expansion, of our hydrogen fuel cell material handling fleet has provided a sustainable energy source that exceeds our expectations."
These forklift trucks contain GenDriveTM systems, manufactured by Plug Power and utilizing Ballard fuel cell stacks as the primary power source. Each forklift is equipped with a hydrogen fuel tank and is re-fuelled in as little as one minute by the forklift operator. Ballard provides both FCvelocityTM-9SSL liquid-cooled stacks as well as FCgenTM-1020ACS air-cooled stacks for integration into various Plug Power GenDriveTM systems that replace lead-acid batteries in all three classes of forklift truck used in the North American market. These trucks include large class 1 counterbalanced trucks, to class 2 reach trucks as well as class 3 pallet jacks.
The operational benefits of fuel cell forklifts over battery power include: increased productivity, since battery-powered trucks lose approximately 14% of their speed over the last half of the battery charge; lower operational costs, by eliminating the need to change, charge and manage batteries; zero emissions; and increased commercial space, through the elimination of a battery storage area.
The additional usage of the hydrogen fuel cell system at Spartanburg was executed by adding two new higher-capacity compressors, new storage tubes and distribution piping, and eight new hydrogen dispensers. The expanded system will deliver at least 400kg of hydrogen per day. BMW estimates that the expanded system will avoid the use of 4.1 million kw/hours per year of grid electricity, up from 1.8 million kw/hours per year for the initial hydrogen fuel cell system.
About Ballard Power Systems
Ballard Power Systems (TSX: BLD) (NASDAQ: BLDP) provides clean energy fuel cell products enabling optimized power systems for a range of applications. Products deliver incomparable performance, durability and versatility. To learn more, please visit www.ballard.com.