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ITA Talks Fuel Cells for Forklifts, DOE says Automobiles Next

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Annual Meeting of the Industrial Truck Association (ITA) was held in Scottsdale, Arizona from October 2 through 5. ITA is a trade association representing lift truck manufacturers and their suppliers in North America. In 2004, Nuvera was the first fuel cell company to join ITA, which shortly thereafter established the Fuel Cell Working Group to address technical, legal, and regulatory issues associated with the use of fuel cells on lift trucks. One of the first actions of the Working Group was to compile a white paper, entitled, “Fuel Cell Technology for Industrial Truck Applications.”

Since that time, fuel cells have captured an increasing share of the ITA’s attention and agenda. The activities of the original Fuel Cell Working Group have continued under a newly established Energy Storage Systems Subcommittee, which is drafting a Recommended Practice (RP) covering the use of lead acid battery ‘emulators’ such as fuel cells on electric lift trucks. The new RP will pave the way for the adoption of fuel cell technology by providing specific guidelines for truck manufacturers. Over the next 2 years, the RP will likely become the basis of amendments to the major codes and standards affecting lift truck operation and safety published by Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL), the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

John Christensen, formerly of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, addressed the ITA regarding the DOE Hydrogen Program’s Early Market Transformation Activities. He noted that DOE sees material handling and backup power as the two primary applications where fuel cells offer a viable value proposition for customers TODAY. Ultimately, DOE’s interest is to spur the adoption of fuel cells in these ‘early markets’ in order to stimulate production volumes, and ultimately reduce the cost to the point where fuel cells are viable for widespread use in automobiles.

By Gus Block, Director of Marketing
Nuvera Fuel Cells

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