Hyster demonstrates hydrogen powered container handler in LA

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by Emily Atkins

Hyster Company recently demonstrated the operation of a prototype top-pick container handler powered by hydrogen fuel cells (HFC) at Fenix Marine Services in the Port of Los Angeles.

Building on the Hyster H1050-1150XD-CH top-pick container handler design, the truck is powered by two 45kw hydrogen fuel cells from Nuvera, a subsidiary of Hyster parent company Hyster-Yale Group. A California Climate Investments grant awarded by the California Air Resources Board helped support development of the HFC-powered container handler.

Refueling the top pick with hydrogen fuel is expected to take approximately 15 minutes, with the intention to provide eight to 10 hours of continuous run time, while producing no harmful emissions – only water and heat. The hydrogen fuel cell works in tandem with an onboard lithium-ion battery to either power the equipment directly or charge the onboard battery. The top pick is also equipped with an energy recovery system for electric container handlers that recovers and stores energy from lowering loads and braking.

In November 2017, the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE), a US nonprofit with a mission to develop and commercialize clean, efficient, sustainable transportation technologies, was awarded $6.5 million in funding from CARB air quality improvement and low carbon transportation greenhouse gas reduction fund.

The project began with CTE collecting duty cycle information for Fenix Marine to try to understand their power and energy needs. “After the grant was awarded, we got into execution of the project from equipment build, infrastructure deployment, training, data collection and project management, much of which occurred during the global pandemic,” said Jason Hanlin, director of technology development at CTE.

“Our whole project team worked closely together throughout this process on a weekly basis, which was great. I’d like to thank Fenix Marine for having the vision and being a willing testbed to prove out this technology. Willing operators and fleets are often the hardest piece of the puzzle when we are putting these projects together.”