Low Cost Metal Hydride Hydrogen Storage System for Forklift Applications

Award Information
Department of Energy
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
01 c
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Hawaii Hydrogen Carriers, Llc
531 Cooke Street, Honolulu, HI, 96813-5235
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator
 Cranston Polson
 (808) 542-1899
Business Contact
 Craig Jensen
Title: Dr.
Phone: (808) 226-5166
Email: thecraig22@hotmail.com
Research Institution
There is worldwide interest in the commercialization of energy efficient, environmentally friendly, hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles and devices. One of the key challenges in transitioning fuel cell technology to the marketplace is the development of suitable onboard hydrogen storage solutions. Metal Hydride Solid-State (MHSS) based hydrogen fuel solutions provide favorable storage alternatives for certain applications such as zero-emission forklifts. Currently, approximately 66,000 Battery-Powered (BP) forklifts are purchased each year in the U.S. BP forklifts have some inherent drawbacks that could be eliminated by incorporating an alternative energy source in the form of a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) coupled with an MHSS fuel system. Hydrogen powered PEMFC forklifts are becoming more widespread, due to a vastly improved overall value proposition, with market sales doubling every two years. The advantages of an MHSS PEMFC forklift over a BP forklift include: 1) Significantly reduced charging/fueling time, 2) Constant Power (not decreasing at low charge), 3) Longer life span, 4) Added ballast (i.e., heavy weight of MHSS fuel tank is a plus for this application), and 5) Supports use of renewable energy (i.e., electrolysis via wind or solar power). Advantages of an MHSS PEMFC forklift over the current High Pressure (HP) PEMFC forklift design include: 1) Reduced safety risks due to low pressure fuel storage, 2) Increased tank storage capacity offering longer durations between refills, 3) Lower cost due to the elimination of on-site HP refueling stations, 4) Value proposition supportive of very small fleets, and 5) Capability to fill directly from an electrolyzer or other low-pressure source. HHC/SES will address the known problem via utilizing our teams vast metal hydride hydrogen storage experience, combined with proven systems engineering tools and manufacturing techniques, to produce a cost effect product that greatly exceeds present industry offerings and customer expectations. Evaluated cost and technical feasibility of MHSS fuel system design integrating with a PEMFC manufactured system. Successfully demonstrated: 1) MHSS storage capacity is greater than for HP fuel systems, 2) Specific energy and energy density meets PEMFC forklift requirements, 3) Ambient temperature start-up, 4) Hydrogen delivery rate is supportive of PEMFC, 5) Refueling can be performed without an off-board cooling system, and 6) Manufacturing design now offers cost competitive solution Validate Phase I design/modeling/testing and produce a full scale MHSS system supportive of PEMFC forklift manufacture. A retrofit kit for existing PEMFC forklifts will also be designed. The developed MHSS system will be formally tested and certified to meet all appropriate codes and standards. The market ready prototype will be integrated into a fully operational forklift for proof of functionality within standard operating conditions. Our solution will cause the wide spread replacement of BP low-speed materials handling vehicles (an estimated $45B/year global market) with hydrogen powered PEMFC systems. Associated benefits are as listed in item 5 above.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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