Japan Working on Implementing Hydrogen Fuel Cells for Industrial Material Handling

Hydrogen Fuel Cells for Industrial Material Handling ( Solar Thermal Magazine)

Air Products and Suzuki Shokan Co., Ltd. today jointly announced the signing of an “Alliance Agreement” for the two companies to work together on the design, construction and operation of hydrogen fueling stations for use in fueling the material handling vehicle market in Japan. Air Products and Suzuki Shokan, an industrial gas company based in Tokyo, Japan, will take Air Products’ proven hydrogen fueling technology and work jointly to make any needed infrastructure modifications in order to meet Japanese laws and regulations.

As part of the Alliance, the companies also agreed to a standard Equipment, Engineering and License for Suzuki Shokan’s purchase and use of key equipment to be supplied by Air Products for the implementation of Air Products’ SmartFuel® hydrogen fueling station technology.

Ed Kiczek, global business director – Hydrogen Energy Systems at Air Products commented:

We have a great deal of experience supporting the material handling market with hydrogen fueling technology and related infrastructure. This Alliance with Suzuki Shokan is a tremendous opportunity to work with a recognized leader in the Japanese industrial gas market to serve the material handling industry in that region of the world. Japan’s keen interest in hydrogen fueling for the automotive market provides a natural extension to hydrogen fueling for material handling. Working with Suzuki Shokan, we can meet the needs of this market.

Kiczek added that the Alliance is already in discussion with multiple high-profile customers for the first deployment.

Yoji Koguchi, managing director in charge of Toyota Factory said:

We believe that the execution of this agreement is a significant step towards the upcoming hydrogen society. Suzuki Shokan possesses hydrogen handling technology and know-how through a long history of supplying the hydrogen business. Such technology and know-how includes engineering, equipment and parts design, construction of piping and knowledge about laws and safety regulations. It is our understanding that fully utilizing such technology, know-how, nationwide sales and marketing resources acquired in our long history, in conjunction with Air Products’ most advanced technology, will make fuel cell powered forklifts steadily accepted by the Japanese market.

Koguchi added that the driving power for the material handling vehicle (forklift) market in Japan is being shifted from internal combustion engines to batteries which are considered environmentally cleaner. Development and practical use of fuel cells in material handling applications have already started in the country.

A leader in providing hydrogen fueling and the related infrastructure to the material handling market, Air Products’ SmartFuel® technology is safely fueling over 2,500 pieces of material handling equipment on a daily basis in the U.S. Air Products is currently supplying over 20 material handling sites in the U.S. and is dispensing hydrogen indoors at nearly 70 dispensers, with some of these units dispensing hydrogen over 100 times per day. Air Products has been fueling material handling units at industrial manufacturers, food distribution warehouses and automotive manufacturing plants since 2007.

Details on Air Products’ material handling fueling can be found at: www.airproducts.com/h2forklift.

There are many advantages to using hydrogen-powered forklifts and material handling equipment. Hydrogen-powered equipment can be quickly refueled in just minutes, only needs refueling once or twice daily depending on use, and does not require change-out downtime, while traditional battery-powered equipment is taken out of operation for battery replacement or recharging approximately every four to six hours. Hydrogen-powered equipment provides consistent power during use and does not experience decreased performance or wear down as battery units do when nearing change-out or recharge time. Additionally, unlike battery-powered forklifts, hydrogen-powered fuel cells are not adversely impacted by temperature when operating in coolers and freezers. Further, hydrogen-powered equipment is more environmentally friendly and does not involve lead-acid battery storage or disposal issues.

Air Products has operated in Japan since 1970. The agreement with Suzuki Shokan also marks Air Products’ second with a Japanese company pertaining to hydrogen fueling. Air Products and NIPPON STEEL & SUMIKIN Pipeline & Engineering Co. Ltd. in 2014 announced an agreement signifying the intent of the two companies to work together on Japan’s developing hydrogen fueling infrastructure market for automotive customers.

Details on Air Products’ hydrogen fueling station technologies can be viewed at www.airproducts.com/h2energy.


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