Linde Material Handling, BMW and Munich Technical University have received funding from the Ministry of Transport in support of the field testing of fuel cell industrial trucks at BMW plant Leipzig.
The funding will run until April 2016 and the research is being carried out under the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP) and amounts to a sum of €2.9m.
The grant will be used to develop a fleet of hydrogen-powered fork lift trucks and tow tractors for logistics trains. The aim of the project is to test the eco-friendly and efficient hydrogen drive system in industrial trucks under realistic production conditions. Charging cycles, battery replacement and the maintenance of common lead-acid batteries require relatively long downtimes for conventional trucks.
The fuel cell hybrid system for fork lift trucks and tractors, however, is refuelled within just a few minutes and requires very little maintenance.
Preparations for the field trial in Germany are currently underway at the BMW plant in Leipzig. This involves the set-up of Germany's first indoor hydrogen refuelling station in the production shop for BMW i automobiles.
Linde Material Handling is providing the industrial trucks for these trials - all of which are fitted with fuel cell system and hydrogen tanks. The fml Chair will oversee the scientific monitoring and evaluation regarding ecological and economic sustainability.
BMW will then test the technology under everyday conditions in a real production environment, using CO2-neutral hydrogen.