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Fuel cell forklift

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Toyota L&F fuel cell forklift, displayed at Eco-Products 2015.

A fuel cell forklift (also called a fuel cell lift truck) is a fuel cell powered industrial forklift used to lift and transport materials.



In 2013 there were over 4,000 fuel cell forklifts used in material handling in the United States.[2] As of 2024, approximately 50,000 hydrogen forklifts are in operation worldwide (the bulk of which are in the U.S.), as compared with 1.2 million battery electric forklifts that were purchased in 2021.[3]


PEM fuel-cell-powered forklifts provide benefits over petroleum-powered forklifts as they produce no local emissions. While LP Gas (propane) forklifts are more popular and often used indoors, they cannot accommodate certain food sector applications. Fuel cell power efficiency (40–50%)[citation needed][4][5][6] is about half that of lithium-ion batteries (80–90%),[citation needed][7] but they have a higher energy density which may allow forklifts to run longer. Fuel-cell-powered forklifts are often used in refrigerated warehouses as their performance is not as affected by temperature as some types of lithium batteries. Most fuel cells used for material handling purposes are powered by PEM fuel cells, although some DMFC forklifts are coming onto the market. In design the FC units are often made as drop-in replacements.[8]


  • 2013 – Toyota Industries (Toyota Shokki) showcased a new fuel cell powered forklift, co-developed with Toyoda Gosei Co., Ltd.[9]
  • 2015 – HySA Systems (UWC) showcased a fuel cell powered forklift using a refueling station based on metal hydrides. The customer was Implats, a mining company in South Africa. This was the first project of this type on the African continent.[citation needed]


  • SAE J 2601/3 - SAE J 2601/3 - Fueling Protocols for Gaseous Hydrogen Powered Industrial Forklifts[10]


  1. ^ History
  2. ^ "60 World-Changing Innovations". Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association. 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  3. ^ Barnard, Michael. "On Hydrogen Forklifts, Bitcoin Mining and Green Fertilizer", CleanTechnica, January 2, 2024
  4. ^ Eberle, Ulrich and Rittmar von Helmolt. "Sustainable transportation based on electric vehicle concepts: a brief overview". Energy & Environmental Science, Royal Society of Chemistry, 14 May 2010, accessed 2 August 2011
  5. ^ Von Helmolt, R.; Eberle, U (20 March 2007). "Fuel Cell Vehicles:Status 2007". Journal of Power Sources. 165 (2): 833–843. Bibcode:2007JPS...165..833V. doi:10.1016/j.jpowsour.2006.12.073.
  6. ^ Garbak, John. "VIII.0 Technology Validation Sub-Program Overview" Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine. DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Program, FY 2010 Annual Progress Report, accessed 2 August 2011
  7. ^ Valøen, Lars Ole and Shoesmith, Mark I. (2007). The effect of PHEV and HEV duty cycles on battery and battery pack performance (PDF). 2007 Plug-in Highway Electric Vehicle Conference: Proceedings. Retrieved 11 June 2010.
  8. ^ "Fuel cell technology". Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-11-24.
  9. ^ "Toyota Industries reveals new fuel cell forklift". FuelCellToday. 2013-02-08. Archived from the original on 2013-12-02.
  10. ^ "Hydrogen fuel cell codes & standandards" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2020-06-11. Retrieved 2013-11-24.