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Hydrogen Energy: Air Liquide supplies an FM Logistic hub

Air Liquide has been chosen by FM Logistic, an international group whose expertise lies in logistics and supply chains, to provide support for its projected deployment of hydrogen-powered forklift trucks on its sites. At the Neuville-aux-Bois logistics platform, located near the city of Orléans (France), Air Liquide installed a hydrogen charging station that will initially service ten forklifts equipped with hydrogen fuel cells. Eventually, the site’s 84 forklifts could switch to hydrogen, which would make it the first logistics hub in Europe to convert its entire fleet of forklift trucks to hydrogen.

Hydrogen is a clean source of energy that constitutes one of the solutions that addresses the challenge of the energy transition. Forklift trucks that run on hydrogen release only water as a byproduct.

The hydrogen batteries supplied by HyPulsion, which replace electric batteries, offer flexibility and improved productivity due to the greater autonomy that result from their use for the forklift trucks and to the fact that recharging the battery takes far less time. In fact, Air Liquide’s hydrogen charging stations can fully recharge forklift trucks in just 3 minutes for 9 to 10 hours of autonomy. This solution offers a durable alternative to traditional forklifts and also meets the major challenges of logistics, notably in terms of productivity.

The use of hydrogen at logistics hubs was first developed in the United States and Canada, with more than 6 000 forklift trucks so far that run on hydrogen. The busy Neuville-aux-Bois (70 000 sq.m.) facility has been chosen to serve as the pilot platform. Other FM Logistic hubs could be similarly equipped in the future.

This project, which concerns the large-scale deployment of hydrogen-powered fuel cells, demonstrates the competitiveness of this solution for forklift trucks. It is the result of a cooperative effort involving the partners of the HAWL (Hydrogen And Warehouse Logistics)* Project, financed in part with the European Union.

*The goal of the HAWL (Hydrogen And Warehouse Logistics) Project is to provide support for the launch of the European market for hydrogen fuel cell batteries for the forklift trucks used in logistics hubs. Several partners are working together on this project:

  • Crown and Toyota Material Handling Europe, manufacturers of forklift trucks
  • HyPulsion, which manufactures hydrogen fuel cell batteries for forklift trucks
  • Air Liquide, supplier of the hydrogen charging station and the hydrogen
  • Diagma, a services company specialized in supply chain management
  • FM Logistic, the final user of the solution and an international logistics organizer