A New York produce distributor plans to install methanol fuel cells to more efficiently operate its fleet of battery-operated material handling equipment.

Baldor powers forklifts through fuel cellsBaldor Specialty Foods Inc., Bronx, is working with Oorja Protonics Inc. in the installation of 50 OorjaPac fuel cell systems on its facility near the Hunts Point Terminal Market.

The OorjaPac system functions as a clean and efficient energy source to run Baldor’s forklifts. Using the system should lower the wholesaler’s dependence on electricity and reduce its carbon footprint, according to a news release.

The fuel cell products run on widely available and low-cost liquid alcohol fuel, according to the release. The fuel cell installation also requires little infrastructure changes and makes such cells attractive for existing and new facilities, according to the release.

“Baldor Foods is excited to be working with Oorja to help us achieve our corporate sustainability goals,” Mike Muzyk, Baldor’s president, said in the release. “We are very impressed by the technology, as it is environmentally-friendly and will also help us save cost and improve productivity.”

Muzyk said he hopes Baldor’s adaptation of the fuel cells helps encourage his other Hunts Point industrial park food distribution competitors to follow suit.

Baldor plans to install the cells in early 2012.