Forklifts in Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated’s (CCBCC) Charlotte production center are now being run on green power hydrogen fuel cells. Further enhancing its environmental sustainability efforts, the company is pioneering hydrogen fuel cell technology for its materials handling equipment.
Beginning in June, the nation’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler began using forklift trucks that run on green hydrogen. CCBCC is the first in the beverage industry to use hydrogen fuel cell technology. The fleet of 35 Crown and five Yale counterbalanced class one lift trucks are powered by hydrogen fuel cells from Plug Power and are being refueled at three indoor fueling stations with hydrogen from Linde North America.
“This is another major step in making our production and warehouse operations world-class examples of environmental sustainability,” said CCBCC VP Lauren Steele. “The hydrogen fuel cell technology follows major strides in environmental stewardship, including aggressive recycling programs, high-efficiency lighting and one of the best water usage ratios in the world at our Charlotte plant.”
“The hydrogen fuel cell solution has allowed us to achieve the high level of environmental sustainability that we’ve been looking for in our operations,” said Bo Calloway, director of fleet operations at CCBCC. “Due to the high efficiency of the hydrogen fuel cells and the convenient location of the refueling stations in our plant, we expect to improve both our operating costs and our productivity. This innovative solution may serve as a model for industries seeking to improve productivity and environmental sustainability.”
The hydrogen technology requires only a three minute fuel time and allows for six to eight hours of use. Unlike the standard battery powered electric trucks, the fuel cell powered equipment will operate at 100 percent power through the entire fill of hydrogen.