Nissan plant using methanol to power parts movers

SMYRNA, TENNESSEE - Nissan North America is cutting its electric bill and carbon dioxide emissions, starting at its plant in Smyrna, by using methanol fuel cells to power tugs that pull trains of dollies loaded with parts.

Executives at the plant near Nashville and the CEO of the methanol fuel cell provider, Oorja (Or-jah) Protonics of Fremont, Calif., said Nissan is the first automaker to make a commercial switch to the power cells that convert chemical energy in methanol into electrical energy without any combustion.

Nissan material handling manager Mark Sorgi (Sor-jee) said using the new OorjaPac system that will be powering 60 of the 4,400-pound "tugs" by October 1 will eliminate more than 70 electric battery chargers using almost 540,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.

The net savings: $225,000 a year.


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