Air Liquide has started up the first hydrogen filling station for IKEA in France. This station is initially intended to supply around 20 forklift trucks fitted with hydrogen fuel cells. The system, which is a first in Europe, has been installed on IKEA's logistic platform in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon in France.
The Air Liquide filling station will supply hydrogen at a pressure of 350 bar, allowing it to fill a tank in 3 minutes. These electric forklift trucks run on hydrogen, their only emission is water and they increase productivity while providing greater flexibility.
By replacing the forklift trucks' electric batteries, the fuel cells provide greater ease of use and save time by refuelling directly at the hydrogen station.
The fuel cells fitted to the forklift trucks are supplied by HyPulsion - a joint venture owned by Air Liquide's subsidiary, Axane (80 %) and by Plug Power (20 %) – thereby allowing Air Liquide to offer an integrated hydrogen solution, including the filling station, for the European market.
The use of hydrogen as an energy carrier for logistic platforms has been developing in the U.S. and Canada, with nearly 5,000 forklift trucks currently running on hydrogen. Of all the markets for hydrogen energy, the segment for materials handling vehicles with fuel cells is the fastest-growing.