Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated said its Charlotte production center has switched to forklifts running on hydrogen fuel cells.
The cells, from Plug Power, are being used in 35 forklifts, which are refueled at three indoor fueling stations with hydrogen from Linde North America.
Coca-Cola said it is the first in the beverage industry to use hydrogen fuel cell technology.
The company said it is also pioneering hydrogen fuel cell technology for its materials handling equipment.
“The hydrogen fuel cell solution has allowed us to achieve the high level of environmental sustainability that we’ve been looking for in our operations,” Bo Calloway, director of fleet operations at CCBCC, said. “Due to the high efficiency of the hydrogen fuel cells and the convenient location of the refueling stations in our plant, we expect to improve both our operating costs and our productivity.”
The hydrogen-run forklifts can be refueled in three minutes and run for six to eight hours after refueling.
Coca-Cola Consolidated is the nation’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler, with franchise territories in 11 Southeastern states.