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The FedEx Freight service center in Springfield introduced several of its new hydrogen fuel cell powered fork-lifts today. KSMU’s Justin Lux was there and has the story.
The new forklifts look a lot like any other forklifts- except they don’t use batteries or propane. Brennan Barr is one of FedEx Freight’s employees that will be using the 35 new hydrogen fuel cell powered fork-lifts.
Dr. Sunita Satyapal, the program manager of Fuel Cell Technologies at the U.S. Department of Energy, was on hand to give a basic explanation of the benefits of hydrogen powered lifts.
“And so fuel cells can take fuels, such as in this case hydrogen, and produce electricity directly. So fuel plus air and it’s much more efficient, there is no combustion, no burning,” she says.
The fork-lifts no longer require battery charging, which used to take up to eight hours. Instead, they can be re-fueled in a matter of minutes. Dr. Satyapal says one of the best improvements comes from the effects it will have on the environment.
“Our estimate so far is with these forklifts, fuel cell forklifts operating on hydrogen, we could potentially avoid more than 200 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year,” says Dr. Satyapal.
The transition to the new fork-lifts comes after the Department of Energy decided to invest more than $41 million of federal stimulus money into thirteen fuel cell based projects. The DOE provided $1.3 million to this Springfield-based project, while FedEx Freight threw in $1.5 million of its own money to fund the venture.
For KSMU News, I’m Justin Lux.