Kinsai International Airport embraces hydrogen fuel

February 16, 2015 0 By John Max
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Airport aims to adopt a fleet of hydrogen-powered forklifts to replace its battery forklifts

Japan’s Kinsai International Airport has plans to become a hub for hydrogen fuel in the coming years. The airport is taking steps to incorporate fuel cell-powered forklifts, which will replace the battery-powered forklifts that the airport had used in the past. The first forklift will be delivered to the airport on February 23. Over the following months, the airport will be replacing all of its 400 battery-powered forklifts with those using hydrogen fuel cells.

Airport may become a prominent hub for hydrogen in Japan

Keiichi Ando, president of the New Kinsai International Airport company, notes that he wants to turn the airport into a massive hub for hydrogen fuel. In order to support the adoption of the new hydrogen-powered forklifts, a small hydrogen station is expected to be built at the airport. This would allow the airport to access hydrogen fuel without having to also deal with shipping costs associated with fuel transportation.

Fuel cell forklifts may be better than their battery-powered counterparts

Hydrogen fuel forklifts The forklifts that the airport will be using have been developed by Toyota Industries. Each vehicle can lift loads of more than 2.5 tons and will be able to operate for eight hours on a single tank of hydrogen fuel. The fuel tanks can be refilled in under three minutes, which is a benefit that fuel cells have over batteries. Conventional batteries have shorter operational lifetimes and must be recharged frequently, with the recharging process taking several hours to complete.

Hydrogen fuel is gaining momentum in Japan

Japan is quickly becoming a major market for hydrogen fuel and fuel cell technology. The Japanese government is investing in the establishment of a hydrogen infrastructure, hoping to foster the transition toward a hydrogen society. The country is also supporting hydrogen fuel and fuel cell technology because of its environmental benefits. According to Toyota Industries, the introduction of 200 fuel cell forklifts at the Kinsai International Airport will offset some 300 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.