BMW Manufacturing’s plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, has more than doubled its fleet of hydrogen-powered material handling equipment, using systems supplied by Linde North America. The 4.0 million square foot production facility now powers its entire hydrogen-fuel cell fleet of more than 230 units to service the plant’s production and logistics functions, making it one of the largest fuel cell forklift sites in the world.
“BMW’s ongoing commitment to clean production is evident in our recent expansion of our hydrogen fuel cell program,” said Duncan Seaman, BMW Group, Head of Market Operations, Americas.
In 2010, Linde supplied a hydrogen fueling system with six indoor dispenser stations to support more than 100 pieces of material handling equipment operating inside BMW’s plant. The 2013 expansion more than doubled their fleet by adding two new higher-throughput compressors, new storage tubes and distribution piping, and eight new hydrogen dispensers. To date, there have been over 200,000 successful hydrogen fuelings at the site.
BMW lists the benefits:
- refueling these fork lift trucks with hydrogen using Linde’s equipment takes an operator less than three minutes, compared with 15-20 minutes to change out a battery;
- fuel cells do not degrade over time, as do lead-acid batteries when they begin losing their charge toward the end of a shift;
- total electricity demand is reduced since no battery recharging is required; and
- cost of environmental disposal costs for lead acid battery is eliminated.
(Source: Linde North America)