How eco-friendly is the latest generation of forklifts with internal combustion (IC) engines?

Forklift trucks propelled by internal combustion (IC) engines are regarded as the market leaders, boasting precise handling, robust construction and high performance. But combustion engines have a negative impact on the environment, irrespective of the fuel – diesel, LPG or natural gas. And forklift trucks are no exception. So how eco-friendly can an IC forklift be?

Wheeled vehicles have seen some big changes in recent years, both on the road and in the intra(logistics) industry. A key reason is the focus on greater sustainability. The top priority is decarbonization, with emission thresholds being continuously lowered. These regulations are also having an impact on industrial trucks powered by liquid gas and diesel.

E-truck versus IC truck

Manufacturers are responding accordingly, and are switching to alternative propulsion methods. But it is not just about electric forklifts. Trucks with combustion engines are also becoming more eco-friendly. Linde Material Handling offers a prime example: “Our clearly defined goal was to make the most efficient and sustainable forklift trucks in the industry,” states Stefan Prokosch, Senior Vice President, Product Management, Counterbalance Industrial Trucks, at Linde Material Handling. The result is the new H20–H35 product line. The new Linde forklifts not only comply with the EU industrial emissions directive for non-road vehicles, stage V, but are, thanks to the innovative engine, far below the defined limit values.

Much improved emissions

Stefan Prokosch, Senior Vice President, Product Management, Counterbalance Industrial Trucks at LMH

By means of a comparison with two chocolate bars, Stefan Prokosch makes clear what that means: a huge, 4.5-kilogram Toblerone bar represents the permissible particulate matter (PM) emissions of the previous 3A standard over a 750-hour period of operation. The small, 35-gram version of the famous chocolate product corresponds to the emissions from the new H20–H35 under the same conditions. It is a huge difference, and one underlined by the figures: PM emissions from the H20–H35 range are lower by a factor of 120, and therefore three times better than the current limit value.

Proven to be more efficient

The intralogistics specialist performed a number of tests that showed that the new trucks are well ahead of the competition in terms of emissions and fuel economy. Stefan Prokosch sums up the improvements: “We have developed a truck that reduces our environmental impact and ecological footprint by offering greater efficiency than all other forklifts.” The improved performance is the result of a propulsion system that combines hydrostatic drive with an industrial engine to consistently deliver exactly the required output.

The new H20–H35 shows that it is also possible to improve the eco-friendliness of IC forklift trucks. As a result, manufacturers can offer all customers a propulsion system that suits their deployment scenario while protecting the environment.