Linde Provides Hydrogen Fuelling for BMW Fuel Cell Materials Handling Expansion

23 Apr 2013

Refuelling

BMW Manufacturing’s plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, has more than doubled its fleet of fuel-cell-powered material handling equipment and is using hydrogen refuelling systems provided by Linde North America.

In 2010, Linde supplied a hydrogen fuelling system with six indoor dispenser stations to support more than 100 pieces of material handling equipment operating inside BMW’s plant. The expansion facilitates a doubling of the fleet by adding two new higher-throughput compressors, new storage tubes and distribution piping, and eight new hydrogen dispensers. To date, there have been over 200,000 successful hydrogen fuellings at the site.

The lifts and trucks deliver process parts to assembly machines throughout the BMW plant. The lead acid batteries that formerly powered lifts and trucks were replaced with hydrogen fuel cells from Latham, NY-based Plug Power Inc., the leading provider of hydrogen based fuel cells in the material handling market. With over 3,500 units deployed in revenue generating service, Plug Power has supplied the largest motive fuel cell fleet in the world.

BMW is able to boost productivity in two ways: refuelling these trucks with hydrogen using Linde’s equipment takes an operator less than three minutes, compared with 15 to 20 minutes to change out a battery. Also, fuel cell performance does not degrade over time, as does that of lead-acid batteries when they begin losing their charge toward the end of a shift. BMW is also able to reduce its total electricity demand, since no battery recharging is

Linde has equipped over 80 hydrogen refuelling stations in 15 countries. In the USA, Linde has supplied stations for fork lift trucks at distribution centres for large retail, soft drink and food service companies. BMW is using Linde’s Ionic Compressor fuelling system, which is also being used extensively in Europe for cars and buses.

Source: adapted from Linde press release

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