DLA Distribution Susquehanna, PA
Pilot Status: COMPLETED
Located in New Cumberland, PA, the project began initial operations in November 2008 with 4 fuel cell units and an outdoor mobile refueler. This two-year demonstration was originally planned to end in February 2011, but was extended until September of 2011 for further research and development. The companies involved in the pilot were Air Products (Prime), East Penn/Nuvera Fuel Cells, and Plug Power. The main aspects of the project included retrofitting 20 existing forklifts and forward fitting 20 new forklifts with fuel cells, comparing products from two fuel cell producers, and setting up storage and indoor dispensing systems for delivered liquid H2. On February 10, 2009, the ribbon cutting ceremony was held to reveal the 40 new fuel cell units and two indoor hydrogen dispensing systems. Susquehanna personnel operate the fuel cell-powered forklifts and hydrogen dispensers while the project team collects the necessary data to analyze the business case.
Numerous fire and safety considerations were encountered because of the desire for an indoor dispensing operation. The considerations included (1) the location of the equipment in an area not exposed to or used by unqualified persons or near heavy traffic to prevent collision, (2) an area free from all sources of ignition, (3) the required development of emergency response plans, job hazard analysis, and standard operating procedures as safeguards.
These issues were resolved through collaboration with NREL, a DOE national laboratory, which conducted a fire hazard analysis. The team addressed the issues confronting the safety and health of the people operating the forklifts and ensured the safety requirements were included in the infrastructure design. This effort produced a template for use in future public and private sector applications. This had not previously existed due to the business sensitive nature of limited deployments of fuel cell forklifts in warehouse operations. At the conclusion of the demonstration, continued operation and expansion is being considered with the potential to expand the use of the fuel cell technology outside of the Eastern Distribution Center (EDC).
In December 2010, an additional 15 Nuvera PowerEdge fuel cell units were delivered to Susquehanna. These units, were installed in 15 Class I counter balance forklifts under a one year demonstration within the EDC. This project was part of a collaboration with the Department of Energy, which has provided funding for the 15 new fuel cell units. At the conclusion of the pilot, all hydrogen fuel cell equipment and materials were relocated elsewhere for continued use.
Susquehanna is also involved in testing for other fuel cell projects. Click Here to find out more information about extended range fuel cell vehicle testing that began operation in February 2011 at DLA Distribution Susquehanna, PA.