HyLIFT-EUROPE – Large scale demonstration of fuel cell powered material handling vehicles

Framework Programme: 
Call for proposals: 
Application area: 
Early markets


The aim of HyLIFT-EUROPE is to demonstrate up to 200 fuel cell material handling vehicles and associated refuelling infrastructure at 10-20 sites across Europe, making it the largest European trial of hydrogen fuel cell material handling vehicles so far and the world’s first large scale demonstration of airport tow tractors. This will continue the efforts of the on-going FCH JU supported HyLIFT-DEMO project. Fuel cell systems will be fully integrated and operated in forklifts and warehouse trucks from Still and airport tow tractors from Mulag.

The high volume combined with FCH JU support is enabling a cost-neutral demonstration operation for vehicle-users. Dialogues have been already established with several vehicle-users and a combined fleet of more than 2,000 vehicles of the types targeted for demonstration. At the vehicle-user sites 10-20 hydrogen refuelling stations (HRSs) will be deployed using the latest technology by the Copenhagen Hydrogen Network. To arrive at the target hydrogen price of 7-9 €/kg dispensed at the pump, vehicle deployment locations will be chosen close to hydrogen production locations whenever possible in order to arrive at the lowest hydrogen supply cost.

The project partners cover the entire value chain and all the disciplines and technologies required for providing fully working hydrogen powered fuel cell material handling solutions ranging from fuel cell system providers, vehicle manufacturers, infrastructure operators and SME companies. The partners will also plan and ensure initiation of supported market deployment and validation of performance targets on durability, efficiency and costs from the demonstration activities. Project results and experiences will be disseminated throughout Europe, targeting early adopters of hydrogen vehicles and focused on European airports and large industrial users of material handling vehicles, as well as on key policy and industry stakeholders.


Given the high number of vehicles to be demonstrated, it is not possible to secure contracts with vehicle-users in advance for the project. Also, vehicle-users normally do not commit vehicle procurements 1-1.5 years in advance as would be necessary in this case (from proposal writing to vehicle deployment). Normally the procurement of vehicles takes 3-6 months’ time.

The approach is therefore to close agreements with vehicle-users during the course of the project and to deploy the vehicles 3-5 months after signing the contracts. The goal is to secure the first vehicle-user agreements by month 3 and the remaining no later than month 21. The risk of not securing a sufficient number of vehicle-users is addressed by the HyLIFT-EUROPE project on several levels.

The project only targets vehicle-users where an obvious TCO benefit for fuel cells can be identified and acknowledged by the vehicle-user. This means that vehicle-users will experience at least the same TCO and performance as enjoyed today with the addition of the ‘zero emission’ advantage.

The HyLIFT-EUROPE project can build on the extensive experiences from HyLIFT-DEMO e.g. on identifying and attracting vehicle-users. This also justifies the feasibility of the significantly higher demonstration volume (up to 200 vehicles).


The sale price target for the fuel cell system is <3,000 €/kW. As this system has the same space requirements as the standardized battery boxes, it can be used on a wide range of applications and also enable large unit volumes. The envisaged performance improvement will take the fuel cell system efficiency from 45% to 50%.

One of the influencing factors of the TCO is the fuel costs which in the case of conventional fuels are highly fluctuating, based on general supply issues and economic developments. In this case, hydrogen fuel costs are also dependent on external factors such as availability of by-product hydrogen, distance to the next large scale hydrogen production unit, etc.

Project reference: 
SP1-JTI-FCH.2011.4.1: Demonstration of fuel cell-powered Material Handling Equipment vehicles including infrastructure
Project type: 
Contract type: 
Collaborative Project
Start date: 
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
End date: 
Sunday, December 31, 2017
48 months (originally), extended to 60 months then extended to 72 months
Project cost: 
€ 15,680,960.2
Project funding: 
€ 6,896,871

Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik GmbH, Germany

Hubert Landinger
Other participating organisations: 
Organisation Country
STILL GmbH Germany
(Air Products GmbH) Germany
(Copenhagen Hydrogen Network A/S) Denmark
Federazione delle Associazioni Scientifiche e Tecniche Italy
H2 Logic A/S Denmark
Air Liquide Advanced Business


Prelocentre France