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France: first supply chain platform equipped with hydrogen power lift trucks is rolled out

  • Air Liquide
  • Usage
  • Europe
  • Clean mobility

In fact, this latest generation hydrogen station, which was developed and installed by Air Liquide, was used on Thursday, January 5, 2012 for the first time to fill two hydrogen forklift trucks for the supply chain platform of Air Liquide Welding in Vatry, France. 

This deployment in France of the first power lift trucks running on hydrogenpowered fuel cells comes on the heels of the recent agreement reached between Plug Power and Axane/Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy. It is part of a larger project aimed at upgrading the Vatry platform. In all, ten of these hydrogen forklift trucks will equip this platform in just a few weeks.
In addition to the reduction in CO2 emissions – of almost 60% - that the Air Liquide Blue Hydrogen offers compared with the European electrical mix base (300g CO2/kwh), supply chain platforms equipped with hydrogen solutions can lead to productivity gains of around 10% compared with conventional batterydriven power lift trucks, thanks to multiple replenishment points and rapid fill-up capability.

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The joint enterprise project formed by Plug Power (world leader in fuel cell batteries for lift trucks) and Axane (subsidiary of the Air Liquide Group) will ensure the development, production and marketing in Europe of a line of hydrogen fuel cells for power lift trucks. For Europe alone, the development potential of this market is estimated to be around 10 000 units by 2015.

As part of its Blue Hydrogen initiative, which aims to gradually decarbonize the production of hydrogen for energy applications, Air Liquide takes a commitment to produce at least 50% of the hydrogen needed for hydrogen energy applications without releasing any CO2 by 2020, by combining:

  • the use of renewable energies, the electrolysis of water and biogas reforming;
  • the use of techniques for the capture and storage of the CO2 released during the production of hydrogen out of natural gas.

Air Liquide’s European supply chain platform in Vatry handles some of the supply chain logistics for the products and materials of Air Liquide Welding and Air Liquide France Industrie (ALFI).
Founded in 1998, this platform is one of the key components of the European supply chain organization of Air Liquide Welding, the goal of which is to implement the physical distribution of its products, delivering them to end customers while minimizing the inventory volume of each item managed and increasing the flow rate.

The platform’s key figures (2010)

  • Surface area: 18 000 square meters (vertical storage height of 8 meters)
  • Workforce: 75 peoples
  • 87 200 palettes delivered
  • 154 200 delivery slips received
  • 25 111 tons shipped
     - 67% in France
    - 21% in Europe
    - 12% for export