Air Liquide is to provide IKEA with a hydrogen refuelling station to supply part of its logistic platform in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon in France.
In the context of this project, the hydrogen station will provide fuel for around twenty forklift trucks powered by fuel cells produced by HyPulsion (a joint venture 80% owned by Air Liquide's subsidiary Axane and 20% owned by Plug Power). These electric forklift trucks run on hydrogen and thus emit only water, while offering extended run time of 8 hours.
Air Liquide's refuelling station will supply hydrogen at a pressure of 350 bar, with refills completed in 3 minutes. Replacing a pure battery system with fuel cells provides greater flexibility and productivity thanks to a longer operating range for users and a shorter down-time for fuelling.
With a surface area of 100,000 m2, IKEA's distribution centre in Saint Quentin-Fallavier is a key warehouse for the upstream logistics of IKEA's stores in Southern Europe, organising the receipt and storage of products delivered from all over the world.
The use of hydrogen as an energy carrier for logistic platforms has been developing in the USA and Canada, with over 3,000 forklift trucks currently running on hydrogen. The conversion of just 10% of the worldwide fleet of forklift trucks would represent a potential hydrogen market of €7 billion.
Gert Bruggers, General Manager Distribution Service Provider IKEA France, declared: "This project is in line with other innovative energy projects that our Group is conducting. Moreover, this allows us to increase our operational efficiency. It contributes to the evolution of the regulatory environment, which will allow an increase in hydrogen energy applications in France."
François Darchis, Senior Vice-President and a member of Air Liquide's Executive Committee, commented: "After the contracts in North America, the Group is proud to set up this first filling station on a logistic platform for IKEA in France. This project, which is a first in Europe, proves the competitiveness and technical maturity of this solution for electric forklift trucks.
And thanks to the cooperation between public and private partners, it is the opportunity to drive change in the regulations to allow the development of hydrogen energy in France."
This project is the result of work carried out by the partners of the "Horizon Hydrogène Energie" program in France, funded by OSEO, and the fruit of effective cooperation with public authorities.
Photo of existing installation courtesy of Air Liquide