Through an extensive list of projects, the Defense Logistics Agency is working to accomplish several important objectives:
- To promote the development of fuel cell technologies for military and commercial applications.
- To demonstrate the business case for fuel cell applications in DoD operations.
- To demonstrate the DoD’s leadership in adopting alternative energy technologies.
- To move toward fully renewable energy solutions which reduce fossil fuel dependence.
These pilots will significantly increase the technology readiness levels and manufacturing readiness levels associated with the fuel cell systems and components and will provide business case data for future retrofitting or replacement of the existing forklift fleet with hydrogen fuel cell powered forklifts. They will also advance the associated infrastructure technologies, including hydrogen delivery or on site production, on site storage, and dispensing technology or off-board hydrogen generation systems.
The business case will be built on data collected during the use of the hydrogen-powered equipment and hydrogen infrastructure during daily operations by in-place DDC/Army personnel. The data collected include continuous and peak power, operational efficiency and degradation under various loading conditions, overall lifecycle efficiency, mean time between failures and failure analysis, filling/dispensing operations, hydrogen production quality (purity), balance of plant factors (kWh in/out), and other runtime details.
By creating a market pull for fuel cell technologies, the pilots encourage market competition and promote the development of hydrogen technologies and fueling infrastructure. Market competition incentivizes improvements in production process efficiencies and technology performance, thus reducing costs over time. Since fuel cells are modular in nature, improvements realized through these projects support the expansion of these technologies into a broad range of applications, such as commercial vehicles.
A critical component of each pilot is the collection and analysis of operational data to evaluate the long-term business case of the particular technology applications. DLA and DDC have teamed with DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to gather the relevant information and compare operations with current technology options. Hydrogen fuel cell technologies are expected to demonstrate operational and environmental benefits over current battery- and propane-powered forklifts.