At the end of March 2012 ITM successfully completed a 6-week trial with Marks and Spencer, in Bradford. Uniquely, the M&S trial aimed to address some of the shortfalls with conventional manual handling vehicles (MHV) and is the first trial of its kind in the UK. ITM’s HFuel refuelling station generated hydrogen on-site for the supply of hydrogen to a range of MHVs including powered pallet trucks (PPTs) and a reach truck.
During the trial, HFuel generated around 60kg hydrogen for some 150 refuelling events, the fuel cell MHVs were operated over a 24 hour shift pattern for the duration of the trial, and were 100% available.
HFuel is well suited to small fleet and early “hydrogen highway” applications of both fuel cell and hydrogen engine vehicles (FCV and HICEV). It provides high-purity hydrogen at 350bar, and is based around a modular platform; HFuel can be expanded at any point after the initial installation enabling a staged rollout of hydrogen fuel.
Once charged with hydrogen the MHVs ran for as long as 18 hours between refills, compared with battery MHVs requiring a change-out between just 5 to 7 hours. The drivers regarded the hydrogen MHVs very highly as they improved pick-rates and eliminated the health and safety requirements surrounding the manual handling of heavy battery assemblies.
ITM is now looking for German partners interested in improving the logistics of manual handling operations, or interested in the use of hydrogen as a return-to-depot vehicle fuel, please email Phil Doran at email@example.com