Request for Information (RFI) on Fuel Cells for Material Handling and Backup Power Applications

    May 16, 2012

    The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Program has issued an RFI seeking feedback from stakeholders regarding the proposed performance, durability, and cost targets for fuel cells designed for backup power and material handling applications. DOE is asking for industry information from developers, manufacturers, end users, and other stakeholders about the target values, as well as the current status of fuel cells for these early market applications.

    Material handling equipment, including lift trucks and other industrial trucks, represents a major early market opportunity for fuel cells. Fuel cell lift trucks offer increased performance, streamlined operation, low infrastructure requirements, high productivity, and low lifecycle cost. Driven by these advantages, significant progress in fuel cell lift truck commercialization has already been achieved, especially in the most demanding applications with the highest productivity requirements. More than 690 fuel cell lift trucks have been deployed through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and Market Transformation activities, which has led to substantial private investment in the technology, with more than 3,500 lift trucks now deployed or ordered with no DOE funding.

    Backup power also represents an opportunity for near-term fuel cell commercialization. Fuel cells have attracted significant interest as generators in critical backup power applications, including data centers and remote telecommunication sites. Several attributes make fuel cells attractive in these applications, including their high reliability, high efficiency, low or zero emissions, small footprint, low noise, and low lifecycle cost. Significant deployment of fuel cell backup power is already underway, with more than 1,300 units now deployed or ordered with no DOE funding.

    For details see the RFI announcement for DE-FOA-0000738. All responses must be provided no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT on June 30, 2012.