“By using the hydrogen-powered vehicle fleet, we were not only able to reduce our Co2 footprint, but also simplify handling for our employees by eliminating the need to change batteries.”
Carrefour site director Alain Audegond
STILL supplies Carrefour with a total of 137 warehouse trucks
Carrefour Supply Chain (Carrefour subsidiary), France
Logistics service provider
Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU)
Ludwig Bölkow Systemtechnik (LBS)
EU project HyLIFT-EUROPE
With this HyLIFT-EUROPE project, which is funded by the EU and implemented in two waves, the partners are setting a milestone for the use of hydrogen as an alternative energy source and proving that the technology can stand the test of time in the tough everyday logistics environment.
Carrefour Supply Chain, the logistics subsidiary of French retailer Carrefour, celebrated the operation of Europe’s largest fuel cell forklift fleet on November 22 in Vendin-Le-Vieil, France, as part of the final project completion presentation. STILL, as the project partner for in-plant logistics, has equipped a total of 137 warehouse trucks for fuel cell use for the EU-funded project: 36 FM-X reach trucks, 78 CX-S horizontal order pickers, 6 EXD-S double deck high lift trucks and 17 EXU-S low lift trucks. “We are proud to have successfully installed Europe’s largest fleet of hydrogen-powered industrial trucks to date. Since 2013, STILL has regularly implemented hydrogen projects with different truck types. Our goal is to offer our customers the best solution for them. The hydrogen-powered fuel cell is a technology that offers many advantages, such as maximum availability,” explains Björn Grünke, Product Manager Energy Systems at STILL.
Carrefour Supply Chain operates a network of 60 logistics sites in France. The new logistics base will supply around 360 stores of various sizes – from wholesale stores to local convenience stores – in the north of France. Between 14,000 and 16,000 different items – mainly beverages, food and drugstore items on pallets – are stored here on an area of 58,000 m2. Employees at the logistics center pick full and mixed pallets of goods for the individual stores in two to three shifts. Vehicle availability is therefore a high priority. One advantage of hydrogen as an energy source is the quick and easy refueling of the vehicles: In just 3 minutes, the fuel cell in the vehicle is refilled and has enough energy for an average operating time of up to 6-8 hours. The hydrogen station for storage and preparation of hydrogen is located outside in front of the hall. From here, the hydrogen is distributed via lines to a total of three filling stations, variously strategically installed in the hall.
Like the construction of the site, the delivery of the trucks took place in two phases: STILL delivered the first 57 warehouse trucks in September 2017, and a further 80 trucks were put into operation in January 2018. Carrefour site director Alain Audegond is enthusiastic about the performance and handling of the fuel cell forklifts: “By using the hydrogen-powered vehicle fleet, we were not only able to reduce our Co2 footprint, but also simplify handling for our employees and make it more ergonomic by eliminating the need to change batteries. In addition, the filling station does not require an enclosed space, but could be installed directly next to the ramps. And finally, we need fewer vehicles overall, and for the fuel cell vehicles, no exchange batteries and other infrastructure for a battery change.”
The project, coordinated by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) and Ludwig Bölkow Systemtechnik, was implemented by Carrefour and STILL together with Air Liquide as the supplier of the hydrogen and hydrogen technology and Plug Power Europe, a leading supplier of hydrogen and fuel cell products for industry, as the fuel cell partner.
Share on the network: