Fuel-cell tow tractor on show
A tow tractor with a fuel cell drive concept was already presented by Fronius at the last CeMAT in 2008. The truck, which is to be displayed at both trade fair stands, is a further development and is branded with the project name "HyLog-Fleet" (Hydrogen powered Logistic System for use within the fleets). This project is a result of a cooperation agreement signed by both companies in 2009. The aim of the agreement is to equip a range of warehouse technology trucks with this innovative drive and offer it as an alternative to electric drives.
The truck to be presented at the trade fair is based on a Linde P30 C tow tractor with a three-tonne pulling force. A fuel cell developed by Fronius, known as the "Fronius Energy Cell", is integrated into the tow tractor. Compared to previous models it is much smaller and more compact. The hydrogen tank no longer sits on top of the battery cover, but is integrated into the battery compartment. The new design allows a standard battery tray to be installed. Its dimensions mean it is suitable for use in pallet trucks and order picking trucks without any further design alterations thus allowing the area of application to be extended. The aim is to allow larger quantities to be realised quicker and for these scale effects to improve the economic efficiency of the fuel cell solution.
The next step is for the trucks to be used by a project customer. The operation suitability of the tow tractors will be tested under real conditions. Other trucks will be tested gradually. Experiences gathered as a result of these tests will support the further development of the fuel cell solution. The project, which receives financial funding from a number of sources including the Austrian government, has already received public recognition in the past. The "HyLog" project received the World Energy Globe Award in 2007 and was also awarded the "Innovation Prize for Logistics" in 2010 by The Association of German Engineers (VDI).
The fuel cell drive functions as a result of a chemical reaction which allows hydrogen molecules to release electrical energy. The current generated by the hydrogen supplies the electric motor that drives the tow tractor. The advantages of fuel-cell technology are manifested as high efficiency with zero emissions, with the only by-product being pure water. Long battery charging times are also eliminated. Instead, it takes less than five minutes to fill the tanks with pressurised gas (350 bar), which can then be stored for a long period of time. One sticking point still remains — the availability of hydrogen refuelling stations. For this reason, the development is specifically targeted at those customers who already use hydrogen in their production process or already have a hydrogen refuelling station on their premises for other reasons.
In order to fulfil the objective of a completely emission-free solution, efforts will be made to manufacture the hydrogen from renewable resources such as solar power, wind energy or biogas. This means that the trucks would not just operate completely emission-free, but the hydrogen could also be manufactured without producing climate-damaging gases.
Fronius International GmbH
Froniusplatz 1, A-4600 Wels
Tel. +43 / (0)7242 / 241 6436
Fax +43 / (0)7242 / 241 95 2560