February 14, 2005

Hydrogenics, GM demonstrate fuel cell forklift backed by on-site fuelling

Hydrogenics, in partnership with GM Canada, recently demonstrated a hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklift together with a Hydrogenics HyLyzer hydrogen refueling station, providing added evidence that that commercially viable hydrogen-powered industrial vehicles are closer to the market than is generally believed. The event, at GM's Oshawa, Ont plant, marked the first time a fuel cell vehicle supported by an on-site hydrogen fuelling station has been demonstrated at a GM facility.

Because the HyLyzer refueling station is compact, with easy connection points, it can be transported easily from site to site. The HyLyzer can produce a variable amount of hydrogen, depending on requirements, and it can refuel a forklift in far less time than that required to change or recharge batteries on a battery-powered unit.

"Currently, industrial vehicles contribute almost 13% of the global total of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions," said, Hydrogenics president and CEO Pierre Rivard. "We believe that one of the first commercial uses for hydrogen powered-vehicles will be in industrial vehicle fleets, such as forklifts, where dedicated on-site refuelling stations can meet immediate refuelling needs.

"Fuel cell-powered forklifts are ideal for indoor facilities, such as factories and warehouses, because they produce no exhaust emissions, and they have significant operational advantages over traditional battery-powered forklifts," he continued, adding, "We have always known that being environmentally friendly is not enough on its own to sell this technology. It simply has to be better than what people use now."

David Paterson, vice- president, corporate and environmental affairs for GM Canada, noted that "demonstration projects like this are critical to the development of fuel cell technology. With predictable duty cycles, lift trucks are an ideal application from which to learn, and a large plant like ours, where external elements are not a factor, is an ideal place in which to conduct a trial like this."

Hydrogenics is leading a consortium of partners to develop, demonstrate and move fuel cell-powered forklifts toward commercialization. This project is being partially funded with a $1.45 million contribution from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC). This funding is in turn leveraging a $1.98 million commitment from the Hydrogenics-led consortium. Its members include Deere and Company, FedEx Canada, General Motors of Canada, NACCO Materials Handling Group and the Canadian Transportation Fuel Cell Alliance.

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