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Wal-Mart Tests Hydrogen Fuel Cell Powered Electric Lift Trucks

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- As part of its exploration of environmentally sound, cost-cutting technology, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.'s logistics subsidiary recently completed Alpha hydrogen fuel cell product field trials at its Missouri distribution center, in which the company used fuel cell power systems for its electric lift trucks.

Cellex Power Products, Inc., a provider of fuel cell solutions used to power fleets of industrial vehicles, had four fuel cell power units in operation for two weeks at the Wal-Mart DC to demonstrate the operational benefits to Wal-Mart when powering its fleet of pallet trucks. The power units ran without safety incident and refueled with compressed hydrogen in one minute, according to the companies.

"Cellex's fuel cell power units provided us the opportunity to gain insight into the potential of fuel cell power," said Rollin Ford, Wal-Mart's e.v.p. of logistics and supply chain, in a statement. "We were impressed with the operational benefits. Working with Cellex enables Wal-Mart to forge ahead on its environmental leadership by embracing new technologies such as fuel cells."

Crown Equipment Corporation, a leading North American electric lift truck company, supplied the lift trucks.

Lead acid batteries, which are commonly used for fuel, typically last four to eight hours, and large distribution centers often change batteries over 300 times per day. In contrast, fuel cell power units eliminate battery changing, run longer than batteries, maintain consistent power delivery to the lift truck, and refuel in one minute, according to Cellex.

In addition to supporting Cellex's Beta field trials, Wal-Mart plans to work with the company on the commercialization process of fuel cell power systems for electric lift trucks.
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