Still builds its own FC systems for intralogistics vehicles in Hamburg
The Hamburg-based industrial truck manufacturer Still has opened its first production line for 24-volt fuel cell systems for intralogistics vehicles. Fuel cell systems for warehouse vehicles will now be produced in series at the Still plant in the northern German port city.
With the launch of its own production line, the company is now able to offer its first warehouse trucks ex-works as fuel cell versions. According to Still, it is currently the only manufacturer in the intralogistics sector to produce its own fuel cell systems and integrate them into its vehicles. Still not only manufactures individual components itself, but also the FC system.
The city of Hamburg aims to become a hydrogen hub, with the northern part of Germany offering plenty of wind energy suitable for longer-term storage as hydrogen as well as its geopolitical advantage for accessing northern Europe. Intra-logistics operations are ideal for hydrogen vehicles since they pose a good business case and are, therefore, first drivers in hydrogen economy infrastructure.
To help customers integrate hydrogen vehicles into their operations, Still is working with various experts for hydrogen projects, including the Hamburg-based engineering firm Hydrogentle. Hydrogentle specializes in planning, planning, and implementing green hydrogen projects and advises Still customers. This approach has been pioneered in the US with PlugPower and intralogistics vehicles, as these already offer customers good business cases for using hydrogen fuel without the need for government subsidies.
Establishing intralogistics operations running on hydrogen furthers fuel cell infrastructure from ports, including fuel cell trucks, which offer doable business cases to expand hydrogen refuelling infrastructure with calculable routes and plannable quantities.
According to the company, this is a “forward-looking step for the intralogistics industry and Hamburg as a location for innovation”. The opening of the production line was attended by company representatives as well as Hamburg’s Senator for Economic Affairs Melanie Leonhard and Klaus Bonhoff, the head of the department responsible for hydrogen issues.
To provide customers with small fleets with an attractive introduction to fuel cell technology, Still also plans to offer a mobile hydrogen filling station as a rental solution from the first quarter of 2024. This will allow customers to test the vehicles in real-life scenarios for around four weeks before investing in a permanent refuelling solution.
“As a pioneer in the intralogistics industry, we feel it is our responsibility to boldly and consistently drive forward the energy transition. The expansion of green hydrogen technology as an emission-free and resource-saving drive system plays a decisive role in this,” says Florian Heydenreich, Executive Vice President Sales & Service at Still in the EMEA region. “Today, we are taking a big step forward on this important path and making the use of fuel cell systems possible and feasible for our customers.”
Still is also working on a 48-volt system with fuel cells for more powerful vehicles, which could “also be produced at the Hamburg plant in the future”. Even so, production of the 24-volt system is also to be expanded, and a new production line has already been inaugurated for this purpose.