MURRAY HILL, N.J. & NEW PROVIDENCE, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Just as the nation has celebrated the 41st annual Earth Day, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, the U.S.’ largest independent Coca-Cola bottler, is announcing that it is boosting environmental sustainability with a hydrogen fueling system for materials handling equipment from Linde North America.
Linde North America is a member of The Linde Group, one of the world’s largest hydrogen energy producers and a leader in developing alternative fuel technologies. Coca-Cola Consolidated is a leader in the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of soft drinks.
Beginning in June, Coca-Cola Consolidated’s Charlotte, North Carolina, distribution center will begin using forklift trucks that will run on green hydrogen produced and supplied by Linde. “Linde is helping Coca-Cola Consolidated bring its business to a new level of green and creating a win-win situation for consumers and the environment,” said Mike Beckman, vice president, alternative energy for Linde North America.
Linde is supplying a hydrogen fueling system with three indoor dispenser stations to support more than 40 pieces of materials handling equipment operating inside Coca-Cola Consolidated’s distribution center. The hydrogen fuel cell powered forklift trucks, which are replacing propane models, move pallets of soft drinks, juice and water around the center prior to shipment to retail outlets in the U.S. Southeast.
This is Coca-Cola Consolidated’s first application of hydrogen fuel cell powered forklift trucks. The hydrogen fuel cells are supplied by Latham, New York-based Plug Power Inc., the leading provider of hydrogen based fuel cells in the materials handling market.
Beckman said, “Linde is proud to celebrate Earth Day by bringing hydrogen into use as a cost-effective everyday fuel. We’re showing that our technology can help improve sustainability, lower emissions and reduce our dependence on foreign fuel. Hydrogen already is one of the most promising alternative fuels. And because of the way it is produced, the hydrogen Linde supplies to Coca-Cola Consolidated is truly green, with only a small carbon footprint incurred during shipping.”
“The Linde hydrogen fuel cell solution has allowed us to promote sustainable business practices that will help us achieve greater efficiencies in our materials handling,” said Alison Patient, director of corporate affairs for Coca-Cola Consolidated. “And 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 cost and our productivity. I think this innovative installation may serve as a model for other Coca-Cola bottlers who want to achieve similar results. Coca-Cola Consolidated is pleased to celebrate Earth Day with the announcement of a new business practice that both adds shareholder value and helps reduce our overall carbon footprint.”
Coca-Cola Consolidated is able to boost productivity in two ways. Refueling these trucks with hydrogen takes an operator less than three minutes, compared with 10-15 minutes to change out a propane tank. The company also is able to reduce its total carbon footprint because no fossil fuel is required to power the trucks.
Linde is a leading supplier of hydrogen fueling systems, having equipped over 70 stations in 15 countries. Linde is implementing this earth-friendly fueling solution at numerous other customers, to include automotive manufacturers, large retailers and food service companies. Hydrogen fuel cell powered forklift applications build on Linde’s expertise in providing leading solutions for fueling hydrogen fuel cell cars and buses.
The Linde Group is a world-leading gases and engineering company with around 48,500 employees working in more than 100 countries worldwide. In the 2010 financial year, it achieved sales of EUR 12.9 billion (USD 17.9 billion). The strategy of The Linde Group is geared towards long-term profitable growth and focuses on the expansion of its international business with forward-looking products and services.
Linde acts responsibly towards its shareholders, business partners, employees, society and the environment – in every one of its business areas, regions and locations across the globe. Linde is committed to technologies and products that unite the goals of customer value and sustainable development. For more information, visit Linde North America online at http://www.lindeus.com
Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated is the largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States and is a leader in the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of refreshment beverages. The Company has one of the highest per capita soft drink consumption rates in the world and manages bottling territories with a consumer base of approximately 19 million people. The company is publicly traded on the NASDAQ market under the symbol COKE.