Today spearhead cluster VIL and WaterstofNet presented the results of the ‘Hydrolog’ project during a closing event at Toyota Material Handling Belgium in Willebroek.
In Hydrolog, the partners examined the possibilities of hydrogen for internal transport. No fewer than 18 companies (Aertssen, Air Liquide, Antwerp Euroterminal (AET), Brussels Airport, Delhaize, DEME, Ecosource, Engie Electrabel, Fluxys, Inovyn, Kalmar, Motrac, MPET, POM Limburg, PSA Antwerp, Rentaloc, STILL and Toyota Material Handling) worked together on a concrete roadmap and demonstrations for hydrogen in internal logistics.
The VIL project Hydrolog has shown that hydrogen is no longer a distant dream, but can become a reality for companies to make their internal transport (e.g. forklifts) green. With the right effort, devices with a fuel cell can already compete with battery-electric ones today. Despite being more expensive to purchase, hydrogen appliances can be used to a maximum extent because they only need to refuel for a few minutes to quickly complete a shift. A sufficiently large fleet is required to maximize the return on the more expensive tank infrastructure.
In the heavier segments, for example ‘terminal tractors’ or ‘container handlers’, hydrogen will become dominant in the future. This category of devices is still in the prototype phase. VIL and WaterstofNet successfully tested a hydrogen-powered terminal tractor and a forklift truck for six weeks at two terminals in the port of Antwerp. The demonstrations showed that hydrogen as a zero-emission fuel can be used in a safe and efficient way to drive heavy logistics equipment.
For the delivery to the terminals, they could call on the mobile hydrogen filling station of WaterstofNet. This project has shown that it is possible to license the storage and refueling of hydrogen, even in an environment with high safety requirements. The permit processes are time-consuming and expensive, since the legislation is not yet fully provided for this new fuel, but certainly not a show stopper.
Project manager of Hydrolog Yannick Van den Broeck looks back: “Within the project, we successfully tested the very first hydrogen terminal tractor in Flanders in real conditions. With an extensive study and TCO tool, the companies can now see for themselves whether and when hydrogen can be interesting for their internal transport. I am convinced that this project will contribute to an accelerated roll-out of hydrogen-powered logistics devices.”