New electronic controls have made it to the Industrial Forklift Segment. The transistor is now controlling many Industrial Battery Chargers in the United States. A proven technology in the European Market for over 20 years, the transistor controlled Industrial Battery Charger technology only recently arrived in the United States just a few years ago.
Four technologies of Industrial Battery Chargers exist to-day. The technologies are called Ferro Resonant, Silicone Con-trolled Rectifier (SCR), Hybrid and the new transistor con-trolled High Frequency Chargers. Original equipment manufacturers of chargers make a minimum of one of the four technologies above. Some OEM’s manufacture all four technologies.
Each of the technologies has perceived benefits in the industrial forklift segment sustaining the demand for continued development. The Department of Energy has completed testing and is considering regulations that may force old technology to be replaced by new.
In May of 2009, Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) released a report comparing the merits of the charger technology with regards to energy usage, efficiency and idle losses. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is a Northern California Utility Company who was commissioned by the Department of Energy to con-duct and publish the test on the charging technology.
The complete report can be found online at: www.energy.ca.gov The data presented in the report compiled by PG&E suggests the new transistor technology saves 13 percent more energy used than the Ferro Resonant and SCR Technology. In a typical industrial electric forklift application with a 40 kilowatt-hour battery the savings can be significant.
Most industrial customers pay an average of $ 0.15 cent per kilowatt-hour used when the utility pricing is averaged. To calculate the true energy costs in a facility, the total cost of the Utility Company monthly charge in dollars should be divided by the total kilowatt-hours used. This allows accounting for additional charges including demand, delivery and the host of taxes levied on many electric bills.
When comparing the technology in the recharging of a typical 40 kilowatt-hour battery the energy savings represented in Table 1 is as follows:
Table 1 shows the power required to recharge the 40 kilowatt-hour battery on the different technology.
The published results of the PG&E study show the ratings above and can be found on the following table of the PG&E study: Multiplying the energy usage across a warehouse operation of 312 days per year accounts for quantifying reduction in energy usage and subsequent savings to the consumer.
Table 2 represents this energy saved per battery recharged: California Energy Commission 2009
Table 2 suggests a savings per battery of 2,028 or 13 % of the energy used. In an application with a $ 0.15 cent per kWh rate, the savings per year is $ 304.00 in energy costs. Consideration of this energy savings reduction should be considered any time an Industrial Forklift Charger is being purchased.
Cost differences between the technologies have decreased toaverages of about 10 %. The costs for the chargers used to recharge the battery example above are estimated in Table 3. The pricing is approximate:
In the technology above the premium cost is recovered in less than one year by the consumer in energy savings. For this reason, the Department of Energy is considering mandating the usage of the Transistor Controlled, High Frequency Chargers in Energy Sensitive areas like California, Nevada and Arizona.
The transistor controlled technology also may provide benefits to the consumers through increased battery life. Many of the High Frequency Original Equipment Manufacturers suggest the transistor controlled chargers are “smarter” allowing for more advanced algorithms.
Advanced charger algorithms are expected to provide better charge acceptance by the lead acid batteries. Better acceptance will place less chemical and heat stress on the battery, both ofwhich should attribute to better run time capacity and longer life of the lead acid battery.
Steve Munton is a nationally recognized expert in Energy,Sustainability and Material Handling. Steve Munton travels North America speaking on Energy, Sustainability, the Triple Bottom Line and Fossil Fuel Vehicle Usage in the Industrial sector.
For more information on Steve Munton visit: www.linkedin.com/in/stevemunton