President George W. Bush yesterday viewed a demonstration of a fuel-cell-powered lift truck while touring the GrafTech International Ltd. facility in Parma, Ohio. GrafTech manufactures graphite material for the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell power unit made by Cellex Power Products Inc., a subsidiary of Plug Power Inc. The Cellex fuel cell system provides clean, reliable power for the electric lift truck made by Crown
Equipment Corporation. Representatives from each company participated in today's tour and lift truck demonstration.
Fuel cells offer an attractive value proposition within the $1.5 billion motive power market to operators of large warehouses, distribution centers and manufacturing facilities. With fleets that include hundreds of lift trucks, these operations can benefit from centralized maintenance and fueling infrastructures. The Cellex Power system delivers value to the customer via increased productivity and reduced fueling time and cost, as well as the elimination of environmental and safety issues associated with traditional lead acid batteries. Adoption in the lift truck market is expected to pave the way for development of other markets on the path toward a hydrogen economy and increased energy independence.
The fuel cell power system from Cellex Power was used to power a Crown model PE End-Controlled Rider Pallet Truck. The Cellex fuel cell contains a fuel cell stack supplied by Ballard Power Systems of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, which incorporates GrafTech's GRAFCELL material as a primary component.
"As a technology leader in the lift truck industry, Crown is actively participating in and supporting the development of alternative fuels that provide power savings for our customers," says Crown President Jim Dicke, III. "Crown has been working closely with Cellex for many years to find the right balance of fuel cells, amount of fuel, weight requirements and other factors to give lift truck customers the performance they expect."
Plug Power, a leader in providing clean, reliable on-site energy products, recently acquired Cellex Power and General Hydrogen Corporation as part of a strategic initiative to develop and commercialize fuel cell power units to provide motive power for electric lift trucks and other mobile industrial equipment. With these two acquisitions, Plug Power has positioned itself to engage both telecommunications and material handling as attractive near-term markets and central components of the Company's revenue growth strategy.