The technology group The Linde Group will provide the BMW Manufacturing Co. plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, with a hydrogen fuelling system for its material handling fleet.
An according agreement was signed in mid-August 2010. More than 85 pieces of material handling equipment are having their lead acid batteries replaced with hydrogen fuel cells. The trucks deliver process parts to assembly areas throughout the plant. After the conversion this part of BMW’s internal logistics will be completely emission-free.
“This is one of the largest hydrogen applications of its kind,” said Dr Andreas Opfermann, Head of Innovation Management of The Linde Group. “We are proud to work together with BMW, supplying both a high-efficiency fuelling system and hydrogen with almost no carbon footprint. This project clearly shows the potential hydrogen offers for internal logistics.”
Refuelling at the six indoor dispenser stations will be facilitated by Linde’s Ionic Compressor fuelling system, combining high efficiency and high throughput with low-maintenance costs and low noise compression. The hydrogen supplied to BMW, a by-product of a chemical plant, is purified, compressed and liquefied by Linde using electricity produced from renewable hydropower.
“We have a clear vision and we are determined to reach our goal of using renewable energy as much as possible throughout the plant site,” said Josef Kerscher, President of BMW Manufacturing. “We realise this is an ambitious goal and the hydrogen fuel cell project puts us another step towards fulfilling our vision.”
BMW is able to boost productivity in two ways: Refuelling these trucks with hydrogen takes an operator less than three minutes, compared with about 20 minutes to change out a battery. These units, when full, run on 2 kilogramme fuel tanks and run for 8-10 hours. Also, fuel cells do not lose power over time, as lead-acid batteries do toward the end of a shift. BMW also is able to reduce its total electricity demand, since no battery recharging is required, and eliminate the environmental disposal costs for lead acid batteries.
Linde is a leading supplier of hydrogen fuelling systems, having equipped over 70 stations in 15 countries.
The Linde Group is a world leading gases and engineering company with almost 48,000 employees working in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2009 financial year it achieved sales of EUR 11.2 bn. The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards sustainable earnings-based growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services. Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment – in every one of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe. Linde is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development.
For more information, see The Linde Group online at http://www.linde.com