Development of a hydrogen electric power source for next generation forklifts

Oxelösund, Sweden

Development of a hydrogen electric power source for next generation forklifts


The goal of the project was to develop a fuel cell based power source to replace the existing battery pack, including hydrogen storage, cooling system and control system architecture to handle the energy management of the whole system. After the initial pre-study of the application requirements and concept design of the solution, the work continued with detailed design and building the hardware. The technical solution was a turnkey solution that the OEM could simply install on the existing electric machine.


A logistics-based original equipment manufacturer (OEM) had the goal of demonstrating a hybrid fuel cell-battery forklift together with their end customer. As we had previous experience implementing our technology into such an application, we were tasked with modifying one of our systems to fit into the OEM’s existing electrified forklift chassis. The hydrogen electric forklift would be tested and
evaluated at SSAB facilities in Sandviken, as part of taking advantage of the axcess hydrogen from HYBRID “worlds first Zero emission steel mill”.

After feasibility study the customer decided on a drop-in replacement solution from their current battery solution that would then be field tested on-site at the location of the end-customer.
We were tasked with:

  1. Performing a feasibility study of the application requirements and a concept
  2. Designing a fuel cell based power source to replace the existing battery pack
  3. Verifying the concept and functionality before the FAT of the completed machine
  4. Integrating and installing the systemm, and supporting the end user in tthe field test


We began with a risk analysis of the machine with the goal of uncovering risks within the proposed setup. An analysis of the end customer’s load cycles then followed which assisted in the dimensioning of the fuel cell system, battery and hydrogen tank. A control strategy was then formulated, ensuring easy integration into the OEM’s forklift. Upon the freezing of the technical specifications, we then designed, evaluated, and built the solution. The hybrid solution was then shipped to the OEMs test site for integration into the forklift. The analyses conducted early in the project coupled with the modularity of the design meant that the integration was smooth. As part of our installation service, we also supported the OEM in their site acceptance testing requirements.

Once the forklift arrived at the end customer and entered their production, we engaged our active remote monitoring system which enabled us to track exactly when the solution needed service and maintenance. Today, the end customer is exploring their synergies with green hydrogen production to further assist in their transition towards hydrogen-electric zero-emission operations. The demonstration project provided invaluable data to compare operating costs of a hybrid fuel cell forklift to a diesel machine performing the same tasks at the customer site.