Coca-Cola to install hydrogen fueled forklifts with Plug Power fuel cell systems

The second largest Coca-Cola bottler in the US will install 40 hydrogen-powered forklifts at its Charlotte, North Carolina production center. Plug Power will provide its Class 1 sit-down counterbalanced GenDrive™ fuel cell solution to Coca-Cola Bottling Co Consolidated early in 2010.

‘With these fuel cell materials handling units, we will be able to maintain productivity, decrease operating costs, and lower greenhouse gas emissions by 30%,’ says Coca-Cola Consolidated's Lauren C. Steele. ‘We assessed many different technologies for our materials handling fleet, and believe the Plug Power fuel cell units give us the best overall solution.’

In deciding to convert its material handling fleet from internal combustion to a cleaner technology, Coca-Cola Consolidated considered several options. Batteries would allow the company to move to electric lift trucks, but the battery-charging equipment and infrastructure would consume valuable facility space. Batteries also mean operator downtime and decreased productivity, as time is spent changing and charging the power sources.

With the Plug Power GenDrive fuel cell, forklift operators are able to run equipment at full speed for an entire shift, maximizing efficiency. Compact hydrogen fueling stations are conveniently located throughout the facility, allowing for easy refueling. Successful product demonstrations under rigorous conditions proved GenDrive as a commercially viable power alternative for Coca Cola Consolidated’s high-throughput operations.

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