Greenhouses Go Electric

April 5, 2017
Posted by: Justin Engel

As manufacturers and end-users alike continue to implement sustainability initiatives throughout their operations, the electric forklift has risen to the forefront as an effective and efficient material handling equipment solution.  As of 2013, electric forklifts represent more than 60% of the North America market, with even greater adoption rates in Europe.  At the leading edge of this trend is the greenhouse industry, where many operations have abandoned internal combustion models in favor of the electric forklift.

While factors contributing to this transition within the greenhouse industry are many and varied, the negative effects of exhaust gas on many crops are among the chief concern for many greenhouse operations.  Among highly sensitive crops such as tomatoes, orchids, petunias, and other potted plants (which experience negative effects at concentrations as low as 0.01 ppm), the presence of noxious gases like CO2, ethylene and sulfur dioxide can lead to chlorosis (yellowing of the leaves), flower and leaf abscission, wilting, stunted growth, and reduced flowering among others.

In these situations, the electric forklift represents an efficient and versatile solution.  Unlike an internal combustion unit, the fully electric, battery-powered AC motor of an electric forklift is emissions free and thus poses no threat to sensitive plant species.  What’s more, the electric forklift offers all the same functionality as a traditional forklift with additional benefits including enhanced maneuverability and a lower total ownership.

Beyond the plants themselves, there are additional reasons to consider an electric forklift in greenhouse applications.  From an employee perspective, the electric forklift limits exposure to two kinds of pollution: exhaust gases and noise pollution.  This, in turn, limits the need for additional layers of protection including ear protection and additional ventilation.  Electric forklifts are also more efficient in their energy use in comparison to internal combustion models, where the heat produced in the combustion process reduces overall fuel efficiency and increases operational costs.

Between the negative impact of exhaust gas emissions and the distinct advantages provided by AC motors – including zero emissions, reduce noise population and high efficiency – it is easy to see why there is so much consumer demand for AC units in today’s market.  If you’re considering an electric forklift for your greenhouse operation, talk to a Stärke forklift dealer today, each of which have access to a wide variety of electric forklifts sure to suit your needs and application.


Justin Engel

Justin Engel is the marketing specialist at Stärke Material Handling Group. In addition to content development, he also handles graphic and website design, SEO, PR and strategic planning.

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