Murray Hill and New Providence, New Jersey, USA, 16 April 2013 - BMW Manufacturing's plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, has more than doubled its fleet of material handling equipment using hydrogen fueling systems provided by Linde North America. The 4.0 million square foot production facility now powers its entire hydrogen-fuel cell fleet of more than 230 units to service the plant's production and logistics functions, making it one of the largest fuel cell forklift sites in the world.
Linde North America is a member of The Linde Group, one of the world's largest hydrogen energy producers and a leader in developing alternative fuel technologies. BMW Manufacturing Co. is a subsidiary of BMW AG in Munich, Germany and is the global producer of the BMW X3 and X5 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupe.
In 2010, Linde supplied a hydrogen fueling system with six indoor dispenser stations to support more than 100 pieces of material handling equipment operating inside BMW's plant. The expansion more than doubled their fleet by adding two new higher-throughput compressors, new storage tubes and distribution piping, and eight new hydrogen dispensers. To date, there have been over 200,000 successful hydrogen fuelings at the site.
The lifts and trucks deliver process parts to assembly machines throughout the plant. The lead acid batteries that formerly powered lifts and trucks were replaced with hydrogen fuel cells from Latham, N.Y.-based Plug Power Inc., the leading provider of hydrogen based fuel cells in the material handling market. With over 3,500 units deployed in revenue generating service, Plug Power has supplied the largest motive fuel cell fleet in the world.
Mike Beckman, vice president of Linde's U.S Hydrogen Fueling team, said, "Linde is proud that BMW displayed the confidence in Linde to supply the hydrogen fueling systems for its expansion program. It proves that our technology can help advance sustainability and lower emissions while also helpi ng to improve the bottom line. Hydrogen already is one of the most promising alternative fuels. Because of the way it is produced, the hydrogen we supply to BMW is truly green, with only a small carbon footprint incurred during shipping." The hydrogen is a by-product of a sodium chlorate plant which Linde purifies, compresses and liquefies using electricity produced from renewable hydropower. "BMW's ongoing commitment to clean production is evident in our recent expansion of our hydrogen fuel cell program," said Duncan Seaman, BMW Group, Head of Market Operations, Americas. "We appreciate Linde's partnership in supporting the expansion, making our entire operation more sustainable." BMW is able to boost productivity in two ways: Refueling these trucks with hydrogen using Linde’s equipment takes an operator less than three minutes, compared with 15-20 minutes to change out a battery. Also, fuel cells do not degrade over time, as do lead-acid batteries when they begin losing their charge toward the end of a shift. BMW also is able to reduce its total electricity demand, since no battery recharging is required, and eliminate the environmental disposal costs for lead acid batteries.
Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug Power, said, "We are pleased BMW has selected Linde as the hydrogen provider at their new manufacturing facility. We are also thrilled to work alongside Linde, a leader in the safe production, handling and supply of hydrogen and it makes sense they would be chosen to work with BMW to help them achieve their sustainability goals."
Linde is a leading supplier of hydrogen fueling systems, having equipped over 80 stations in 15 countries. In the U.S., Linde has supplied stations for fork lift trucks at distribution centers for large retail, soft drink and food service companies.
BMW is using Linde's Ionic Compressor fueling system, which is also being used extensively in Europe for cars and buses. "Linde is a technology company, not just a hydrogen supplier. It is nice to see that our fueling solution has allowed BMW to achieve significant benefits from choosing hydrogen as a reliable and clean fuel for their production facility," Beckman said.
About The Linde Group
The Linde Group is a world-leading gases and engineering company with around 62,000 employees in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2012 financial year, Linde generated revenue of EUR 15.280 bn (USD 19.9 bn). The strategy of the Group is geared towards long-term profitable growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services. Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment – in every one of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe. The company is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development.
Under the "Clean Technology by Linde" label, the company offers a wide range of products and technologies that help to render renewable energy sources financially viable, and significantly slow down the depletion of fossil resources or reduce the level of CO2 emitted. This ranges from specialty gases for solar module manufacturing, industrial – scale CO2 separation and application technologies to alternative fuels and energy carriers such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and hydrogen. For more information, go to http://www.linde.com/cleantechnology.
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