The Raymond Corporation announces that it has been awarded a contract for $750,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to research hydrogen fuel cell applications in electric lift trucks.

Beginning in 2007, Raymonds Greene, N.Y., manufacturing facility will become a living lab, with hydrogen fuel cell-powered Raymond forklifts in the facility. Raymond also will develop the necessary infrastructure for indoor fast-fill hydrogen refueling systems, which represents new technology (refueling systems are typically installed outdoors). The goal of the program is to study the performance of hydrogen fuel in electric forklifts and to demonstrate the safety of a hydrogen-fueled forklift environment. Expected outcomes include a working indoor refueling system that meets all required code and standard requirements, and documented best practices for the design and application of indoor refueling systems.

The Raymond Corporation is committed to researching the application of hydrogen as an alternate method for storing energy on its forklift equipment, says Michael Field, Raymond vice president, research and development. The NYSERDA contract confirms the merits of our project and supports our business strategy to develop fuel cell technology for electric forklift applications. By using our own facility as a test lab, we can streamline the development process and learn firsthand the requirements for using fuel cell-powered forklifts in a manufacturing environment.

In a conventional electric lift truck, the energy used to drive the truck is stored as electricity in a lead-acid battery. In a fuel cell, energy is stored as hydrogen gas and converted into electricity as needed. There appears to be significant potential to improve warehouse productivity and lower operating costs if fuel cells are used in high throughput warehouse applications. Hydrogen fuel cells offer higher productivity because they can be rapidly refueled in several minutes versus several hours eliminating the need to change a battery. A battery recharging cycle is long, typically taking one shift to charge and another shift to cool down the battery. For a three-shift operation, three batteries plus a charger may be needed per lift truck, as well as room to store and maintain them. Cost savings come from eliminating the need to buy batteries and chargers, and from labor savings. Another advantage is that the voltage delivered by a fuel cell remains constant; the vehicle experiences no performance degradation until the fuel runs out. Furthermore, hydrogen is environmentally clean: the only byproducts from a fuel cell are water and heat.

For more information about Raymonds new fuel cell research program or to locate a Raymond dealer, visit or call (800) 235-7200.

The Raymond Corporation is the leading North American provider of materials handling solutions that improve space utilization and productivity, with lower cost of operation and greater operator acceptance. High-performance, reliable, ergonomically designed Raymond products range from a full line of manual and electric pallet trucks and walkie stackers to counterbalanced trucks, Reach‑Fork trucks, orderpickers and dual-purpose (pallet handling/case picking) Swing-Reach trucks.