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Logistics platform

Hydrogen energy for material handling
Air Liquide distributes solutions both for hydrogen energy production and hydrogen charging station. Are you looking for a way to increase the productivity and range of your fleet of captive electric vehicles? With lower operational costs and longer runtime between charges, hydrogen energy forklifts can meet your needs.
  • 3 minutes
    recharging time

  • 8 hours
    driving range on average

  • 10 years
    lifespan of the fuel cell

Air Liquide contributes to facilitating access to the hydrogen energy by the roll-out of an hydrogen distribution network using high-pressure hydrogen supply and charging stations to supply material handling vehicles powered by fuel cells. From production and storage to distribution and applications, Air Liquide offers turnkey solutions for hydrogen mobility suited to your needs.

Hydrogen charging stations for material handling

The creation of captive fleets running on hydrogen improves productivity while reducing CO2 emissions in the place of use. One of the main applications, which is showing strong growth, is for fleets of forklift trucks in logistics warehouses.

Forklifts running on hydrogen emit no greenhouse gases. Used in a fuel cell, hydrogen combines with oxygen from the air to produce electricity, discharging only water. It offers a sustainable alternative to legacy forklifts and meets key logistics challenges by combining increased flexibility and improved productivity.

Air Liquide can support you in every phase of your project to set up a hydrogen charging station for material handling vehicles; from design to operation, including integration, manufacturing, start-up, training and maintenance.

How does it work ?

Our hydrogen stations are installed directly in the heart of the logistics platforms, thus enabling fast charging of the handling vehicles.
The hydrogen station comes with two modular components: the automatic refueling control panel and the dispenser, which includes the tube and nozzle.

Recharge a forklift in just 3 minutes. 

Hydrogen fuel cells give forklifts an extended range, reduce recharging time, and increase safety for forklift operators who no longer have to handle heavy batteries. Fuel cell units fit seamlessly into the space occupied by batteries in forklifts, making them a simple and cost-effective solution for customers to adopt. 

Full of advantages

Hydrogen has many advantages over electricity, providing economic, practical, environmental and technological benefits.

  • Switching to hydrogen energy in a new warehouse eliminates the need for a costly room to store and recharge electric batteries. This frees up valuable warehouse space as well as saving money !
  • With hydrogen, several charging stations can be installed at strategic locations in the warehouse, whereas there would be one centralized hub for charging electrical forklifts. Multiple hydrogen charging points limit travel for forklifts, thereby boosting productivity.
  • Employees' work is less laborious and there is less risk of accidents because they no longer have to carry the forklifts' heavy electrical batteries, which weigh several hundred kilos each. The forklifts can be recharged with hydrogen in just three minutes and then they are good to go. This saves precious time every day !
  • Hydrogen technology allows forklifts to remain in use non-stop. Long stoppages for recharging are no longer necessary. Even better: the performance of fuel cell forklifts is constant throughout use, until the hydrogen runs out. Electrical batteries lose power as the charge runs down.
  • And finally, the lifespan of a fuel cell is longer: around 10 years, compared with 5 to 6 years for an electrical battery.

I wanted to innovate, but above all, I wanted our new logistics center to benefit from all the advantages of hydrogen energy. Air Liquide has given me that opportunity!

Philippe Giroux

Prelocentre CEO

Learn more

100% hydrogen-powered logistics: a first for Europe!

Prelocentre – which provides a fruit and vegetable logistics service for the Grand Frais chain in France – uses hydrogen to run all goods handling devices in Prelocentre, its warehouse in Saint-Cyr-en-Val near Orléans. A European first!

In a suburb of Lyon, Philippe Giroux makes the most of a quiet moment to read the trade press. An article catches his attention: more and more warehouses in the USA and Canada are using forklift trucks that run on hydrogen. When used in a fuel cell, hydrogen generates clean energy as it combines with air to produce electricity, and water is the only waste emission. Hydrogen can be produced using natural gas – biogas or other – as well as by water electrolysis. As CEO of Prelocentre, the exclusive logistics service provider for the French distributor Grand Frais, Philippe Giroux is very interested!

The construction of the Prelocentre logistics center near Orléans was an ideal opportunity to roll out a new system using forklift trucks powered by hydrogen. Right from the planning stage, the company incorporated adaptations to its warehouse in order to run a fleet of forklifts fitted with fuel cells and accommodate the related hydrogen infrastructure. 

Prelocentre has only just opened in Saint-Cyr-en-Val, and already it has plans for expansion. The warehouse will soon have more fuel cell forklifts. A second building for Grand Frais is to be built nearby, also equipped with fuel cell forklifts. Other major distributors have been impressed by the Prelocentre scheme and are taking a close interest in hydrogen technology for their own logistic centers. One in particular plans to centralize all its former warehouses in one huge logistics hub. These chains have met Air Liquide in order to discuss their projects.