Raymond unveils fuel cell technology in forklifts

GREENE – Chenango County’s largest employer, Raymond Corporation, is on the forefront of developing hydrogen fuel cell-powered lift-trucks and is the first company in New York to have an indoor fueling dispenser for the energy source.

At a press conference Thursday, state and local dignitaries, energy and power research scientists and the media packed into an area in corporate headquarters to hear the announcement. The room was equipped with webcast technology that broadcast the news simultaneously around the world. Afterward, Internet users were able to e-mail questions and receive live responses from Raymond’s executives.

Raymond, owned by Toyota Industries Corporation, is the leading North American manufacturer of lift-trucks. It employs nearly 1,000.

President James Malvaso explained that hydrogen fuel cells would increase productivity in warehouses by “significantly reducing” the time it takes to change the large batteries that currently power its materials handling trucks. There are about 100 fork-lifts in the average-sized warehouse and each has multiple batteries, some weighing up to 4,000 pounds.

Malvaso also said due to the density of fork-lift trucks, hydrogen fuel cell technology has been pulled into the marketplace by a user community that has become environmentally conscious.

“This is our contribution to this industry. There has hardly been a thing in your house that hasn’t been moved by a forklift machine. Taking care of the environment that we live in and eliminating hazardous waste is important to us. Fuel cells may be - and in fact is - the solution to environmental concerns in this industry,” he said.

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