EHA member Air Liquide is going to provide IKEA, the leading specialized retailer, with a hydrogen filling station to supply part of its logistic platform in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, near Lyon in France.

In the context of this project, the hydrogen filling station will supply around twenty forklift trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells produced by HyPulsion (a joint venture 80%-owned by Air Liquide’s subsidiary Axane and 20%-owned by Plug Power). These electric forklift trucks are hydrogen-powered, they reject only water and offer extended run time for 8 hours.

Air Liquide’s filling station will supply hydrogen at a pressure of 350 bar, with refills in 3 minutes. Replacing electric batteries with fuel cells provides greater flexibility and productivity thanks to a longer operating range for users and a shorter down-time for refilling.

With a surface area of 100,000 m2, IKEA’s distribution centre in Saint Quentin-Fallavier is a key warehouse for the upstream logistics of IKEA’s stores in Southern Europe, organising the receipt and storage of products delivered from all over the world.

The use of hydrogen as an energy carrier for logistic platforms has been developing in the U.S. and Canada, with over 3,000 forklift trucks currently running on hydrogen. The conversion of just 10% of the worldwide fleet of forklift trucks would represent a potential hydrogen market of €7 billion.

Gert Bruggers, General Manager Distribution Service Provider IKEA France, declared: “This project is in line with other innovative energy projects that our Group is conducting. Moreover, this allows us to increase our operational efficiency. It contributes to the evolution of the regulatory environment, which will allow an increase in hydrogen energy applications in France.”

François Darchis, Senior Vice-President and a member of Air Liquide’s Executive Committee, commented: “After the contracts in North America, the Group is proud to set up this first filling station on a logistic platform for IKEA in France. This project, which is a first in Europe, proves the competitiveness and technical maturity of this solution for electric forklift trucks.
And thanks to the cooperation between public and private partners, it is the opportunity to drive change in the regulations to allow the development of hydrogen energy in France.”

This project is the result of work carried out by the partners of the “Horizon Hydrogène Energie” program in France, funded by OSEO, and the fruit of effective cooperation with public authorities.