A step towards the future
Alternative drive technologies may be the solution to meet the environmental protection demands of tomorrow. One such example is the "E-LOG bio-fleet" research project, which aims to improve operating behaviour and environmental sustainability by using an industrial truck fleet with a fuel cell hybrid solution and "range extender". The partners involved — DB Schenker, Fronius International, Linde Material Handling, HyCentA Research, OMV and JOANNEUM RESEARCH, a research association — presented the project at a press conference at the sixth A3PS conference, which was held by the Austrian Agency for Alternative Propulsion Systems. Entitled "Eco-Mobility 2011", the event took place on 15 and 16 November 2011 at the Austria Center in Vienna.
In the intralogistics industry, the world's biggest market for electric drives, productivity is often limited when purely battery-powered forklift trucks and warehouse trucks are used, particularly in a multiple shift operation. The crucial factors are not only the time and effort involved in changing the battery, but also the battery's limited service life and relatively high maintenance costs.
Fronius International has developed an innovative solution — the HyLOG Fleet energy cell — which replaces a conventional battery. In collaboration with Linde Material Handling, the warehouse truck could be adapted accordingly. This energy cell comprises a PEM fuel cell, a lithium battery and a 350-bar pressure tank for hydrogen, and has a continuous output of 2.6 kW and a short-term peak output of 11 kW. Another special feature associated with the energy cell is indoor refuelling, with an indoor refuelling facility for hydrogen at 350 bar set to be approved and constructed – not only an Austrian first but a European first, too. The supply of hydrogen is an integral part of the system solution, and this supply will be ensured through the development and installation of a decentralised hydrogen production facility. This facility will be used to reform biomethane, a carbon-neutral energy source, to produce hydrogen.
The project partners will work together as follows: Fronius will develop and construct the energy cell, Linde Fördertechnik will retrofit an initial fleet of ten industrial trucks, DB Schenker will test these trucks in a field trial beginning in late 2012 and lasting a year, OMV will supply the hydrogen infrastructure and Joanneum Research will evaluate the environ-mental sustainability of the project using life-cycle assessments. In a life-cycle assessment, environmental impact is calculated by examining material and energy flows across the life-cycle of a product or service and carrying out a comparative evaluation with other systems. HyCentA will support the project with technical, economic and ecological analyses and will be involved in project management.
Certification and approval of the overall system is expected by mid-2012. Once this has been achieved, the truck fleet will be put into operation. This process will last a year and will in-volve demonstrating the expected advantages and the technological maturity of the system in a practical test. The project will be funded by the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund (Klima- und Energiefonds) and is part of the "technological beacons of electromobility" programme ("Technologische Leuchttürme der Elektromobilität").