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Hyster zero emssions reach stacker

Hyster Europe has provided information on the zero emission reach stacker featuring a hydrogen fuel cell for the Port of Valencia, as part of the €4M European Horizon 2020 programme and H2Ports project


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Hyster zero emssions reach stacker

The Port of Valencia disclosed last month that the fuel cell project involves a Hyster reach stacker and a Terberg terminal tractor.


Hyster-Yale Group is participating in the H2Ports project alongside the Port Authority of Valencia, the Valenciaport Foundation, the National Hydrogen Centre, MSC Terminal Valencia, Grimaldi Group, Atena, Ballard Power Systems Europe and ENAGAS.


Valencia has tested a Terberg LNG tractor previously at Noatum Valencia under an EU-backed project, but the demonstration site for the fuel cell battery hybrid reach stacker will be the MSC Terminal Valencia (MSCTV). A fuel cell will also be fitted to a Terberg ro-ro tractor at the Grimaldi terminal in the port. Terberg is cooperating in the project, although is not part of the project team.

Jan Willem van den Brand
Jan Willem van den Brand

The project has received funding from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint undertaking (FCHJU) which also includes the development of a mobile hydrogen supply station.


Hyster’s product offering includes a battery-hybrid drive with Hyster’s own Nuvera fuel cell technology, a system it is already testing in laden container handling mast trucks. “An on-board hydrogen fuel cell will charge the battery on the forthcoming fully electric Hyster reach stacker,” said Jan Willem van den Brand, Director Big Truck Product Strategy and Solutions at Hyster Europe. “The technology will help evolve this industry into a low carbon and zero emission sector.”


While battery-operated top handlers that require charging during operation are being tested in the US, Hyster is backing its hybrid drive with a battery-fuel cell combination to deliver fully autonomous performance, with no down time for charging.


The underlying reason is that Hyster is not convinced that operators can in future rely solely on the grid. To provide the same autonomy as an 800-litre diesel fuel tank (7,760 kWh) will require a manageable battery pack recharged from 233 kg of hydrogen, which equates to a 5.8 m3 cylinder when pressured to 700 bar, said Willem Nieuwland, Hyster Europe’s project manager, electrification, said last year.

MSC Terminal, Valencia - a great opportunity for Hyster to evaluate its approach to zero emissions
MSC Terminal, Valencia - a great opportunity for Hyster to evaluate its approach to zero emissions

Last May Nieuwland told WorldCargo News that hydrogen prices in Europe vary between €8/kg and €12/kg, but the trend is downwards. Once the price reaches €5/kg, he believes, the hybrid solution will become cost-competitive.


On the H2 Ports project again, Van den Brand continued: “As the first of its kind, we expect the new Hyster reach stacker will be able to support continuous operations while providing zero emissions and achieving comparable full shift performance to a conventional IC reach stacker.”


Hyster is also expecting users to benefit from lower noise level, and a reduction in energy and maintenance costs thanks to the elimination of the engine, transmission and other mechanical-driven components.


“It has the potential to effectively support port applications with a heavy-duty cycle,” Van den Brand continued. “We plan to maximise uptime, minimise refuelling requirements and help applications to manage power consumption while complying with relevant environmental regulations and incentives.”


The H2 Ports project looks like a good one for Hyster to be involved in, because it plays to its approach that batteries on their own are not a viable solution for heavy mobile handling plant in intensive operations.


Another point is that reach stackers may be more receptive to its fuel cell/battery technology than mast trucks. There are several aspects to this.


First, in Europe, certainly, reach stackers are generally more popular for laden container handling than mast trucks, so there is potentially a much bigger market. The situation in the US is much more balanced, so that would be the main focus of its hybrid mast truck.


Next, reach stackers are more expensive than mast trucks, so the price of a hybrid drive is relatively lower compared to a mast truck application.


The third point is open to debate, but certainly some OEMs believe that mast trucks are much more receptive to hybrid technology using batteries or supercaps recharged from a relatively small diesel engine. This is because there are just two handling motions, up and down. The whole of the down stroke (ie 50% of the motions) is available for energy capture, and mast rollers are low friction.


With a reach stacker, however, power is needed for three of the handling motions – boom up, boom out and boom in, and only boom lower is available for energy capture.


The point is that such a hybrid mast truck would achieve much lower fuel consumption, emissions and noise than a conventional IC mast truck. It would be acceptable in many jurisdictions that are prepared to see "low emissions" as a success story if "zero emissions" are deemed as an unobtainable goal.

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