In an effort to eliminate lead-acid batteries in the warehouse, home improvement retailer The Home Depot has deployed a fleet of hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklift trucks in its new DC near Toledo, Ohio.
Using fuel cell-powered forklifts can boost a company's sustainability efforts by enhancing productivity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, says Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug Power Inc., the Latham, N.Y. company that manufactures the GenKey solution used by Home Depot. One challenge to launching the effort was building the infrastructure to support a new fuel source. Home Depot constructed an outdoor GenFuel hydrogen fueling station, installed four indoor hydrogen-dispensing stations, and deployed 172 Plug Power GenDrive fuel cells in the center's forklift trucks.
Since the fuel cells produce no emissions, the system has put a major dent in the site's greenhouse gas production. By switching from lead-acid batteries to hydrogen fuel cells, The Home Depot will cut greenhouse gas CO2 emissions by more than 800 tons a year, according to Plug Power. The company adds that these savings could increase to 9,000 tons of CO2 over the life of the project, the equivalent of removing more than 1,800 cars from the road.