At the moment, most businesses rely on electric, battery-powered forklifts, which need recharging regularly, resulting in continued periods of downtime throughout the day. These forklifts also experience a gradual reduction in performance as they run out of charge.
In contrast, a hydrogen fuel cell forklift is capable of refuelling in less than five minutes and maintains performance, so it is ready in a similar time to internal combustion machines. One issue with hydrogen fuel is that there does need to be a stable supply available, and, at the moment, these are not very common, so a delay in supply could result in machine downtime.
Currently, natural gas prices are at a record low, which means the production cost of hydrogen fuel is also very low. As hydrogen-powered forklifts become more common, the overall price is quickly decreasing, making them a more viable option for many firms.
The ongoing costs are also much lower; for example, hydrogen fuel cells only need replacing once in ten years, in comparison to electric batteries, which only last three to four years. The traditional lead batteries are also very costly to dispose of, due to the dangerous materials they hold.
Less space required
If your business has a large electric forklift fleet, you will be more than familiar with the vast amounts of space needed for recharging. A hydrogen fleet uses a compact generator indoors, with all other equipment able to be stored outdoors. This frees up what is often very valuable business space.
One of the major benefits of using hydrogen fuel cell forklifts is that they produce zero harmful emissions. The main carbon emissions come from the transport process involved in the hydrogen delivery. For socially responsible companies looking to continually reduce their carbon footprint, these forklifts are a great addition to the fleet. In comparison to lead-acid machines, fuel cell forklifts provide a 33% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
One of the latest companies to invest in fuel cell forklifts is the retail giant Amazon. The forklifts will be used in 11 warehouses, which will enable them to work around the clock, thanks to the forklifts having no recharging time. If the forklifts work well in these initial warehouses, the company is planning to fully equip all fulfilment centres with them during 2018, at a cost of $140 million.
Fuel cell forklift numbers are increasing each month, although the energy needed to create hydrogen fuel does add to the controversy surrounding them. At the moment, they are out of reach of many smaller companies due to the price, but we expect the price to come down in the near future. If you would like anymore information about hydrogen fuel cell forklifts, please contact us today.