Batteries in the old forklifts at the Bridgestone/Firestone plant in Aiken just weren't efficient.
Each forklift needed three batteries at a time.
On top of that, forklift drivers might have changed batteries four to six times during a 12-hour shift, said Mitch Mussetter, engineering team leader at Bridgestone.
Oh, yeah, and the batteries were heavy.
The 2,000-pound behemoths were a bear to install – and took up valuable space inside the plant.
"We started looking at what else was out there, and in came the fuel cell," Mussetter said.
This week, there will be lots of talk about the possibilities for hydrogen fuel cells at the annual conference of the National Hydrogen Association in Columbia. The city is positioning itself to be at the forefront of research and jobs as that technology develops.
Imagining what the technology can do is what gets most people excited.
Throughout the week, cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells will get the most attention from people who hope this form of energy replaces fossil fuels. Honda, Daimler and General Motors will show off their fuel cell prototypes.
But there's a long road to travel before hydrogen-powered cars become mainstream.
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