Proton Reveals First Triple-hybrid Forklift Power System

The triple-hybrid system combines a fuel cell, a battery and supercapacitors to form an energy-efficient power system, replacing the standard battery package for the Class 1 forklift with an 80 V, 700Ah battery.

Published: 26-Sep-2007

Proton Power Systems plc (AIM: PPS), a leading designer, developer and producer of fuel cells and fuel cell–electric hybrid systems for the “back to base” market, today announces that it is has unveiled the world’s first triple-hybrid forklift system in Puchheim, near Munich, Germany. Designed as a “plug-and-drive” technology by Proton Motor Fuel Cell GmbH (“Proton Motor”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Proton Power, the triple-hybrid system offers significant cost and energy savings and works with all battery types and brands of forklift trucks.
As stated in its results for the year ended 31 December 2006, together with buses, forklift trucks are a key market segment for the Company and being able to offer this unique technology represents an important milestone for Proton Power, putting the Company in an excellent position to move into commercialisation.

The triple-hybrid system, “PM Package MH30“, combines a fuel cell, a battery and supercapacitors to form an energy-efficient power system, replacing the standard battery package for the Class 1 forklift with an 80 V, 700Ah battery. As all components are used in their optimal operation range, the system offers over 50% energy savings compared with diesel engine forklifts and fuel-cell-only systems. In addition, an intelligent energy management system controls the power distribution between the fuel cell, supercapacitors, and battery. The energy recovered during braking is stored in the supercapacitors and batteries, which provide peak power during operations such as acceleration and lifting heavy loads. The 10 kW proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell delivers sufficient energy to allow the forklift to work for an eight-hour shift and also features a short recharge time where users can refuel hydrogen for a full working shift in just one minute.

Including the supercapacitors the system can provide over 30 kW of peak power. Unlike batteries, which have long recharge and discharge times, supercapacitors can quickly be charged and discharged for sudden spurts of peak demand. They also allow the recovery of energy from highly dynamic actions such as braking. Complementing the supercapacitors, the battery provides energy buffering over longer peak demand times.

Felix Heidelberg, CEO of Proton Power, said: “With Proton Power’s system, long battery charging times, expensive charging stations and the associated logistics are things of the past. Our triple-hybrid technology offers unbeatable energy and cost savings and represents the ideal construction of a hybrid power system. Along with the launch of our new facility in Puchheim earlier this month, our newly unveiled triple-hybrid technology marks another essential step in bringing Proton Power’s technology to the commercial market.“

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