Air Liquide to power Canada’s largest fleet of green forklifts

June 22, 2010

The fuel cell forklift trucks are the fastest growing segment of the hydrogen energy market. In addition to producing no greenhouse gases, these vehicles also offer a productivity gain of 2% compared to battery powered forklift trucks. In Canada, where numerous publicly-funded research and development programs on hydrogen energy have been launched in recent years, commercial applications are coming to light.

In this context, Air Liquide was recently awarded a contract to supply the hydrogen, filling station and infrastructure to power Walmart‘s new fleet of green lift trucks at the company’s new distribution centre located in Alberta, Canada.

This fleet is the largest deployment of fuel cell lift trucks in Canada and the first commercial contract in hydrogen energy in the country. It is also the first fleet of its kind supplied by the Air Liquide group.

Air Liquide Canada will design a dedicated solution for material handling. It will integrate compact indoor hydrogen dispensers located throughout Walmart Canada’s distribution center. Those dispensers will be able to supply a total of over 100 kg per day and fill vehicles in less than 2 minutes. This fast filling generates a significant productivity gain compared to battery swap operations for conventional electric forklifts. Air Liquide will also supply the hydrogen, which in Canada is produced using 98% renewable energy sources, such as hydroelectricity.

Over forty-five Air Liquide hydrogen stations have been installed throughout the world to date. Other publicly-funded programs in Canada include the Vancouver and Montreal-Trudeau airports demonstration project, and the Whistler station, which keeps BC Transit’s fleet of 20 hydrogen buses on the road. In Korea, two new hydrogen filling stations dedicated to cars have just been commissioned.

François Darchis, Senior Vice-President, Air Liquide Group, and a member of the Executive Committee, commented: “We are very pleased to provide the hydrogen and filling infrastructure for this first fleet in Canada. It is another step towards the global market Air Liquide has been anticipating. We are proud to accompany the development of this technological innovation that will help to preserve the environment. Both Energy and the Environment are growth drivers of the Air Liquide Group."