Nissan becomes first automaker to deploy methanol fuel cells for material handling equipment commercially

August 25, 2009

Nissan North America (NNA) has become the first vehicle manufacturer to commercially deploy methanol fuel cells to power its material handling equipment (tugs) at its Smyrna, Tenn., assembly plant. The methanol fuel cells from Oorja Protonics, OorjaPac™, provide an energy-efficient process for the 60 tugs that are used to transport thousands of vehicle parts throughout the 5.4 million-square-foot facility.

"Nissan is constantly looking at the impact our business activities have on the environment, and at the same time, how we can become more efficient," said Mark Sorgi, manager, Material Handling. "The fuel cells, that are fueled by methanol, are helping us in both areas by reducing our CO2 emissions and better utilizing our resources."

Nissan reported that by using the methanol fuel cells, it was able to get rid of more than 70 electric battery chargers that were consuming almost 540,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. This reduced Nissan's electric bill and eliminated more than 300 tons of CO2 emissions that were being released into the atmosphere.