Green power for forklifts
Electrovaya’s green tech will be field tested by Mondelez’s distribution centre forklifts to reduce emissions and improve productivity.
Electrovaya Inc. is putting a different spin on the lithium-ion batteries that typically go into the world’s teched-out electric cars.
The Mississauga, Ont.-based battery manufacturer is working with Mondelez Canada Inc. to replace lead acid batteries in the snack maker’s forklifts with Lithium Ion 2.0 technology. The switch is supposed to increase productivity, reduce emissions and cut power requirements by up to 35%.
“Three shift operations using conventional lead acid batteries suffer from reduced electrical efficiencies, lower productivity and higher maintenance costs,” says Andy Ganapathy, Electrovaya’s vice-president of sales.
He describes the Lithium 2.0 technology as essentially maintenance free and allows the operation to run continuously over three shifts.
Mondelez Canada is a division of global snack maker Mondelez International Inc. (2013 revenue of US$35 billion), which makes and sells brands such as Cadbury chocolates, Nabisco biscuits, Tang beverages and Trident gum.
It was established in 2012 after Kraft Foods Co. spun off its grocery portfolio. The company employs more than 3,000 Canadians between a head office in Mississauga, Ont. and manufacturing facilities, sales offices and distribution centres across the country.
The battery packs going into the forklifts will be equipped with Electrovaya’s intelligent battery management systems (iBMS) and are to be delivered to Mondelez’s distribution centre in Toronto, where field trials will continue through the end of March.
iBMS is an integrated system that optimizes and protects the battery system at the cell, module and system levels. Distributed and system control intelligence works in different voltage configurations that can be scaled depending on the battery system.
Founded in 1996, Electrovaya manufactures proprietary lithium-ion super polymer batteries and battery systems for the clean electric transportation, utility-scale energy storage and smart grid power, consumer and healthcare markets.
The company says its non-toxic manufacturing technology produces a higher performing cell compared to conventional lithium-ion battery plants that use the toxic solvent n-methyl-pyrrolidone (NMP), which has caused birth defects in lab animals.
The company has more than 150 patents relating to its SuperPolymer 2.0 battery technology and various system architectures. Its products have been used by NASA and in the Scribbler tablet computer.
It also partnered with Tata Motors and Miljø Grenland/Innovasjon to manufacture batteries and electric cars, and was a key player in the launch of the first all-electric US car sharing program in Baltimore, Md. that offered its Maya-300 micro-car for rent at the Maryland Science Center.
In January, Electrovaya delivered a Lithium-Ion 2.0 battery system for energy storage to Glencore’s Raglan nickel mine in northern Quebec. The battery system accepts and stores energy from all sources including diesel generators, solar and wind, and can reduce diesel consumption by up to 50%.
Ganapathy is confident there will be much potential for the company’s advanced battery systems in the forklift market. He predicts lithium-ion technology will replace both lead acid and hydrogen fuel cells for electric forklifts “similar to the way the electric automobile is essentially all powered by lithium-ion today.”
This article appears in the March 2015 issue of PLANT.