Nuvera Fuel Cells Inc., a fuel cell manufacturer based in the U.S. and Italy, has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency to provide 18 hydrogen fuel cell units to operate in a New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, depot. The fuel cells will be used to power the batteries of a fleet of forklifts that operate in and around the depot. The Department of Energy funded the deal, though the exact cost of the acquisition is unspecified.
The Defense Logistics Agency has been utilizing hydrogen fuel cells in other locations as well. The Susquehanna Defense Distribution Supply Depot has been using the fuel cells to power their forklifts since 2009. A refueling station in York, Pennsylvania, provides hydrogen for the fuel cells.
Robert Schafer, vice president of sales and marketing for Nuvera, says that the elimination of batteries, as well as access to quick fueling stations such as the one in York, have increased fleet availability in the depots. “The decision to expand their fleet is a testament to their, and by extension, the Department of Defense’s, belief in hydrogen fuel cells.”
The units provided by Nuvera are advanced modules that require no maintenance and feature a computerized control system. The units store compressed hydrogen and unlike conventional lead-acid batteries, they do not need to be removed to be refueled.
With federal agencies showing more interest in hydrogen fuel, the future of this alternative energy seems to be bright despite news of funding cuts for research in the field.