Plug Power GenDrive Sales Into Food Distribution Centers Up

One of North America's largest food distributors places orders for hydrogen fuel cell lift trucks at sites in Boston, New York and San Antonio.

Latham, NY: Plug Power Inc., a provider of clean, reliable energy solutions recognizes the benefits that its GenDrive fuel cell product for material handling brings to grocery distribution centers. And, so do the grocery distribution customers.

When comparing orders received by food distribution customers during the first quarter of 2011 with the year 2010 in entirety, Plug Power saw a growth rate of 55 percent.

The company is capturing upon building traction in the growing market space. During the first quarter of 2011, Plug Power received three additional orders from a customer who is the global leader in selling, marketing and distributing food products to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities.

A total of 315 units will be divided across three sites:

  • 160 GenDrive units to be operational in Boston;
  • 42 GenDrive units to be operational in Long Island, NY; and
  • 113 GenDrive to be operational in San Antonio, TX.
Each GenDrive-powered fleet is comprised of a mix of class-1 units for sit down counterbalanced trucks, class-2 units for reach trucks and class-3 units for rider pallet jacks. Particular to hydrogen fuel cells, use in cold storage areas does not interfere with operations as it does with lead-acid batteries. Hydrogen fuel cells maintain full power in dry and cold storage facilities, allowing for increased productivity from lift truck fleets.

By eliminating the need to charge batteries off the grid, each facility will significantly improve sustainability efforts. With a fleet conversion to GenDrive, customers will see a significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions created at each site. Because GenDrive is a hydrogen-fueled system, the only byproducts of the energy creation process are heat and water.

At the same time, converted facilities will recoup valuable time and labor wasted in the battery changing area, instead of on the floor moving product. Unlike time-consuming lead-acid battery changing processes, hydrogen refueling takes as little as 60 seconds and can be performed by the truck operator.

"When Plug Power made a decision to dedicate all resources to our GenDrive business, we did so because we believed in the solution and the economic benefits it brought to our customers," says Andy Marsh, CEO at Plug Power. "We knew that once individual branches of large customers began to witness what GenDrive would do for its operations, word would spread, and the value would be disseminated to other territories of the business."