Aschaffenburg-based Linde Material Handling (Linde MH) has taken a significant step towards a sustainable future by commissioning its hydrogen plant and corresponding trucks at its site.
The project, which received funding from the Federal Ministry of Digital Affairs and Transport, marks an investment of approximately 2.8 million euros in the development of hydrogen infrastructure. Linde MH aims to gain expertise and provide comprehensive support to forklift operators in adopting hydrogen as an energy source for material flow processes.
Recognizing the challenges posed by energy supply, Stefan Prokosch, Senior Vice President of Brand Management at Linde MH, highlighted the importance of exploring alternative options. Hydrogen is a potential component in the future energy mix, particularly in intralogistics applications. The advantages of hydrogen for industrial trucks include its potential for climate neutrality and the rapid refueling times, taking around 3 minutes, which is comparable to a charging capacity of approximately 480 kilowatts of electrical power. Additionally, hydrogen can serve as an energy storage medium, especially as the use of renewable energy sources expands. Linde MH aims to offer a diverse range of energy supply alternatives to meet user requirements and adapt to future energy developments.
The hydrogen infrastructure at Linde MH consists of multiple modules. The core component is a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolyzer capable of producing 50 kilograms of hydrogen per day. Purified and deionized drinking water is electrolyzed using green electricity to produce gaseous oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen is then compressed to a pressure of 450 bar and stored in high-pressure tanks through pipelines and valves. A software-controlled valve system regulates the supply line to the dispenser, where vehicles can be easily connected for refueling. The high-pressure accumulator can store up to 450 kilograms of hydrogen at 120 bar, enabling increased refueling during peak periods, such as shift changes.
The initiative involves the replacement of combustion engine models with 21 electric counterbalance trucks equipped with fuel cell hybrid systems. This includes 12 Linde E50s with a load capacity of 5 tonnes and nine Linde E35s with a load capacity of 3.5 tonnes. These trucks play a crucial role in various tasks within the plant fleet, such as loading and unloading trucks and supplying assembly lines with heavy components. Importantly, these vehicles operate without emissions, with the fuel cell system utilizing hydrogen and oxygen to generate electrical energy, which in turn charges a lithium-ion battery that powers the trucks. The only by-products of this controlled combustion process are water and heat.