With their own infrastructure, Linde Material Handling (MH) is now producing green hydrogen, using it to supply energy to 21 fuel cell forklifts of the plant’s fleet.
“The energy issue is emerging as one of the major challenges of this decade and beyond”, declared Stefan Prokosch, Senior Vice President Brand Management Linde Material Handling, on the occasion of the opening ceremony. “In searching for possible solutions, we see hydrogen as an option in the energy mix of the future.” This also applies particularly to intralogistics. Because in addition to potential climate neutrality, it is primarily the rapid refuelling of industrial trucks with hydrogen for intensive operation over multiple shifts, that represents a huge advantage. “A three-minute refuelling time corresponds to a comparable charging capacity of approx. 480 kW”, clarified Prokosch. In addition, the energy carrier could function as a method to store energy in the future, when use of renewable energy sources increases, for example it could provide interim storage for energy generated by photovoltaics or wind power. “We want to have the full spectrum of energy supply solutions in our portfolio in order to provide our customers with the best solution for them. This strategy enables us to remain flexible and open to different developments. Because no one knows exactly where the journey will actually lead in the end”, explained the top brand manager.
Inspiring pilot project
Around 2.8 million euros were invested in the planning and construction of the hydrogen infrastructure. The production plant had a build time of eleven months on a 280-square-metre existing area at a suitable location within the manufacturing and assembly plant. Around 50 subcontractors participated in the construction of hydrogen infrastructure under the direction of the general contractor Covalion, a brand of Framatome, and the construction department of Linde MH.
“With the commissioning of the plant and forklifts, we are becoming hydrogen producers and users ourselves, thereby expanding our technological know-how further. Our customers also benefit from this. The experiences that we have in the planning, construction and operation of the plant as well as the use of fuel cell forklifts can be passed onto them in future material flow projects”, explained Prokosch. At the same time, the decentralized, ‘on-site’ hydrogen infrastructure serves as a showcase for other interested groups. “We are demonstrating how the use of renewable energy sources can work in practice”, the brand manager added.
Green hydrogen produced on site
With its own infrastructure, Linde Material Handling is now producing green hydrogen at the Aschaffenberg site, thus supplying 21 fuel cell forklifts of the plant’s fleet with energy.
Kurt-Christoph von Knobelsdorff, CEO and NOW GmbH spokesperson: “Lighthouse projects like this one from Linde Material Handling are vitally important for the continued ramp-up of hydrogen and fuel cell technology. They demonstrate what is already possible in the intralogistics sector and they make it clear that transformation towards climate neutrality has really taken off, also in the non-road sector. The companies that are pioneers in this field and exchanging their experiences in networks such as the Clean Intralogistics Net are already now benefitting, thereby securing their successes far beyond tomorrow.”
Michael Kraus, Project Leader of Framatome (Covalion): “It was a challenge, but at the same time an opportunity to prove our capabilities and expertise. The project planning and plant construction took a total of about three years to undertake – and we were able to support Linde Material Handling from the first joint meeting, to the approval procedures, right up to the first refuelling of industrial trucks. We worked closely with the project managers to fulfil the individual requirements of the project and find the best solution.”
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Image source: Linde MH