Feeds

US Navy seeks hydrogen-powered forklifts

Won't set the world on fire. Maybe the warehouse

Build a business case: developing custom apps

US Navy boffins are seeking to kit out American military stores depots with hydrogen-powered forklifts, or - as they prefer - "hydrogen-fueled material handling equipment".

Back in January, the Naval Surface Warfare Centre, crane division, issued a request for proposals seeking contractors to provide hydrogen-driven forklifts and fuelling stations to top them up, to "reduce existing oil consumption rates", and "initiate the transition towards a future hydrogen economy."

The idea is that existing electrically-powered forklifts would have their current battery packs replaced by hydrogen fuel cells.

"In total, [the US military supplies agency] operates over 3,000 forklifts, of which approximately half are electric-powered," say the naval sci-tech researchers.

"Proposers are expected to offer at a minimum a complete power unit that is equivalent in form, fit, and function and equal or superior in performance to the lead acid or nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery system currently used in these forklifts."

In contrast to various other suggested uses for fuel-cells and hydrogen, this sounds relatively practical and achievable. Forklifts in a facility don't need to hold their hydrogen fuel for long periods, don't need long endurance, and can refuel as often as they like. The tricky problem of containing the hydrogen (or producing it on the spot) can be hived off into the filling-point infrastructure rather than happening in the vehicle.

That said, it seems likely that the hydrogen used in the new forklifts will still be ultimately produced by burning ordinary hydrocarbon fuels in some form. Hydrogen technology is merely a means of storing energy generated elsewhere - just like the electric forklifts which are being replaced. However, the NSW-Crane programme might advance the state of the hydrogen art without being too inconvenient.

Apparently, the Navy received four proposals. The winning bid was that from a Pennsylvania firm, Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. A $5,608,817 R&D contract was awarded on Wednesday, and work is expected to be complete by 2010. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.