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Electric forklifts aren’t as clean as you think. LPG forklifts operate cleaner than both electric and diesel options.

“Carbon footprint” is an increasingly popular concept: for labelling, marketing, finance and regulation. In individual cases, carbon footprints can also be contentious, for example in the case of LPG and electric forklifts. Therefore, the fuel carbon footprints of the two were investigated to see if a fair, robust comparison could be made. This investigation yielded two conclusions: (1) definitions will continue to complicate footprint comparisons and (2) fuel carbon footprints of electric and (liquefied petroleum gas) LPG forklifts are, in principle, about equal, while in actual practice, LPG’s footprint is smaller than that of electricity.

Electric forklifts aren’t as clean as you think. LPG forklifts operate cleaner than both electric and diesel options.

If your goal in 2020 is to clean up your business’s environmental impact, you can do better than electric. LPG forklifts do a better job of reducing your contribution to emissions without sacrificing power or productivity.

Many material handling professionals believe electric forklifts are the cleanest equipment option available. While electric performs cleaner than conventional fuels like diesel, the manufacturing, transportation, and recharging of batteries — combined with the losses in transmission and distribution of electricity — have a significant impact on the environment that can’t be ignored

Carbon footprint

Compared with electric, LPG forklifts reduce SOx emissions by 75 percent. SOx, or sulphur oxides, is a category of emissions monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (US Governing Body).

According to the EPA, SOx emissions can join with other compounds in the atmosphere to form particulate matter pollution. These small particles can penetrate into the lungs, and at high volumes, contribute to health problems. Using LPG forklifts is one of the ways material handling professionals can reduce their contribution to SOx emissions.

As you might expect, LPG forklifts also operate much more cleanly than diesel forklifts. Diesel exhaust is recognized as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization, and diesel-fuelled forklifts cannot operate indoors.

Tier-4-compliant diesel engines

Tier-4-compliant clean diesel applications have also driven up the acquisition costs for diesel forklifts, on top of complicating maintenance procedures and making maintenance more expensive. When compared with diesel, LPG also reduces greenhouse gases by 16 percent, SOx emissions by 15 percent, NOx emissions by 17 percent.

NOx, or nitrogen oxides, are a family of gases that play a major role in atmospheric reactions that produce ozone (or “smog”) on hot summer days, according to the EPA.

In fact, LPG forklifts operate so cleanly that, when well-maintained, they may be used for indoor applications including food handling. Combined with their powerful performance that doesn’t fade — unlike the batteries powering electric forklifts — they’re a trusted, proven option for material handling.

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