SK Group & Plug Power: Fuel Cell Forklifts Are Used at South Korea’s First Hydrogen Logistic Hub

By September 1, 2022 2   min read  (406 words)

September 1, 2022 |

Fuel Cells Works, SK Group & Plug Power: Fuel Cell Forklifts Are Used at South Korea's First Hydrogen Logistic Hub

The development of South Korea’s first environmentally friendly hydrogen logistics center will be assisted by hydrogen fuel cell forklifts used in a trial project involving an asset management company, a logistics company, and a joint venture between SK E&S and Plug Power, an American manufacturer of hydrogen fuel cell turnkey solutions.

According to SK E&S, an energy company affiliated with South Korea’s SK Group, SK Plug Hyverse, a joint venture between Plug Power and SK E&S, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Coupang Fulfillment Services (CFS) and Kendall Square Asset Management. Kendall operates 42 warehouses, while CFS, the logistics division of Coupang, the global ecommerce platform headquartered in Seoul, operates over 100 warehouses.

The CFS logistics center in Mokcheon, 75 kilometers (47 miles) south of Seoul, will convert a portion of its electric forklifts to hydrogen fuel cells in the second half of 2023.

“This business arrangement is significant because it has created the groundwork for the development of the first eco-friendly hydrogen logistics hub in South Korea,” SK Plug Hyverse CEO Lee Ji-young said in a September 1 statement.

Hydrogen forklift operation data is recorded and analyzed by CFS. Hyverse will provide hydrogen forklifts, charge station construction, and hydrogen fuel. The responsibility for locating charging stations and acquiring licenses rests with Kendall. Coupang and Kendall Square will attempt to implement a hydrogen logistics model at their logistic hubs.

Logistics companies are adopting electric forklifts powered by batteries to reduce carbon emissions. Due to their shorter charging time and extended operating duration, hydrogen forklifts can boost job efficiency and output.

According to SK E&S, Plug Power’s hydrogen fuel cell system could be easily installed in the battery compartment of electric forklifts, giving it a competitive edge. Hyverse will build a massive facility to produce fuel cells and water electrolysis equipment for Asian markets in Incheon. In 2024, production will begin. As part of Incheon’s effort to rejuvenate hydrogen public transportation and use hydrogen for city buses, the “Giga” facility is intended to support this goal.

New energy sources such as hydrogen fuel cells are being heavily invested in by South Korea. In December 2021, the government launched a program to test hydrogen fuel cell-powered cargo trucks in logistics services. To accelerate the conversion of heavy trucks into environmentally friendly vehicles, Hyundai demonstration trucks weighing 11 tons were used in the test operation.

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