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Oorja Protonics introduces methanol fuel cell, onboard battery charger for forklifts

Oorja Protonics, a leading developer of powerful direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) technology, has added the 4.5 kW OorjaPac™ Model 1 to its product line. The California-based company is targeting the materials handling market with its fuel cell onboard battery chargers for forklifts.

Oorja Protonics aims to attract forklift operators and fleet managers, with a claimed operating cost of US$0.18 per kWh for the Model 1. The system eliminates the need for battery charging stations for class 1 and 2 forklifts, as the vehicle battery is charged continuously by an onboard fuel cell running on liquid methanol.

The OorjaPac addresses the low vehicle runtime and operational cost challenges facing managers of materials handling fleets. OorjaPac continuously trickle-charges the onboard battery in such vehicles, regardless of whether it is operating or parked, which ensures the battery never reaches a state of deep discharge.

Thus battery charge and power are maintained at high levels, and the battery is not subject to heat damage caused during recharging. This significantly increases productivity by eliminating the labor and equipment costs associated with swapping batteries.

‘A single refuel of the new Model 1 takes less than one minute, and can last two eight-hour shifts,' says Sanjiv Malhotra, CEO of Oorja Protonics. 'We’ve seen payback in as little as six months, with companies seeing full payback in 12–15 months.’

Last spring Oorja Protonics received an order from Super Store Industries in California to install OorjaPac direct methanol fuel cells on SSI’s entire materials handling fleet operating in the freezer at its Lathrop facility. Oorja also received an order from LPC to install OorjaPac systems on all its electric forklifts.

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