By on December 17, 2020


Plug Power Expands eCommerce Use of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells

Plug Power, a provider of hydrogen engines and fueling solutions, is expanding its support of Walmart’s eCommerce network. Plug Power currently supports more than 9,500 GenDrive fuel cell-powered vehicles used by 37 Walmart distribution centers across North America.

Plug Power Expands eCommerce Use of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells

Plug Power has provided GenKey hydrogen and fuel cells since 2010 for Walmart’s material handling fleet. The company began expanding into Walmart’s eCommerce network, with the first deployments in August 2020, and additional expansion planned in 2021.

Plug Power Expands eCommerce Use of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells

Flexibility, scalability, and fast fueling make Plug Power products positioned for growth and the peak demands of eCommerce applications. Operating at 99 percent uptime with constant power performance in Walmart’s material handling fleet, Plug Power enabled Walmart to fulfill increased demand from customers during the pandemic.

ProGen and GenDrive fuel cell solutions power a variety of vehicles including material handling trucks, tuggers, automated guided vehicles, airport ground support equipment, and Class 3-8 commercial fleet vehicles for middle and last-mile delivery applications.

“This application expansion signifies the next step as we support Walmart’s eCommerce business while helping them meet the operational goals important to both Walmart and consumers,” said Andy Marsh, Plug Power CEO.

Plug Power Expands eCommerce Use of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells

“The challenges this year have increased demand on leading brands providing necessary goods and services to customers. At our distribution facilities across the country, our decision to be an early adopter of hydrogen fuel cells has helped us manage and meet the increased demand for food and basic supplies,” said Jeff Smith, Senior Director Walmart Supply Chain. “This is why we’re excited to expand these solutions into our eCommerce network in 2021.”

Creating the first commercially viable market for hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) technology, Plug Power deployed over 38,000 fuel cell systems for e-mobility and has become the largest buyer of liquid hydrogen. A significant value proposition to end-customers, this includes environmental benefits, efficiency gains, fast fueling, and lower operational costs.

Leveraging its know-how, modular product architecture, and foundational customers the company is expanding into other markets including zero-emission on-road vehicles, robotics, and data centers.

[Images: Plug Power]

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14 Comments on “Plug Power Expands eCommerce Use of Hydrogen and Fuel Cells at Walmart...”

  • avatar

    Big batteries versus Hydrogen. Who you got?

    • 0 avatar

      Neither is even remotely competitively sustainable, beyond the fantasy worlds of clueless central bank welfare queens, on subsidized missions to destroy as much value as their welfare checks affords them.

      Upsized battery RCs are easy, though. Any yahoo dumb enough to believe making childish elevator pitches to idiots on welfare, has anything whatsoever to do with what they are dumb and naive enough to believe is called “business,” can make those. Most of them seemingly already are.

      Hydrogen will never be that easy. Hence depend on having at least the occasional adult sit down to play with the Montessori kids destroying things to “express themselves.” Something adults can only be counted on doing for so long, before they get bored and find something more useful to do.

  • avatar

    I’m curious to know how they crack the hydrogen away from its various molecular bonds, electrolysis, do they crack it from natural gas, do they crack it from ammonia?

    As an energy storage medium hydrogen is an interesting idea. Seems like a good thing for big commerce, even if for personal transport it doesn’t make sense.

    I suppose a company specializing in personal hydrogen vehicles could be called Hindenburg Motors.

    • 0 avatar

      There is a plenty of hydrogen in the Universe. Hydrogen resulted from Big Bang when quark gluon soup cooled down and Universe’s vacuum state transitioned to break grand unification symmetry and elementary particles acquired masses thanks to interaction with Higgs bosons.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, and being so highly reactive there is very little free-floating hydrogen. If I recall correctly one of the challenges to making hydrogen a viable solution has been the amount of energy it takes to isolate the hydrogen making it useful as a fuel source.

        There’s electrolysis, isolation from natural gas, and I’ve heard ammonia bus currently being investigated. I recognize that there’s some more advanced physics and chemistry that I didn’t get to which would make for a more thorough analysis of the issue, but I presume there are those who understand the issue more than I do.

        The other challenge is creating a relatively safe storage medium that doesn’t also take up a ton of space.

  • avatar

    People like to mock Walmart, but they can be fairly sophisticated.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    If Walmart is looking at hydrogen fuel cells instead of pure EVs then there is something to hydrogen. Regardless of people’s opinions about Walmart they have one of the best most efficient distribution systems and Walmart runs very efficient operations. I commented on another article that for most commercial uses hydrogen was a more viable option versus pure EVs. Walmart realizes that eventually they will not be able to buy new diesel trucks due to regulations and hydrogen gives them a more cost effective way for long distance transportation. This also gives Walmart the green credentials.

  • avatar

    Nice puff piece. Did they pay you for reprinting their press release?

    I like this company and wish them the best — they’re located near where I grew up, and they’re trying to carve out a useful niche with interesting technology. But they’ve never been even close to profitable and it’s hard to see how they ever will be because they’re dependent on a very small number of customers that could easily yank the rug out from under them.

    • 0 avatar

      As soon as they start to feel safe, Walmart will “renegotiate” their contract, entirely to Walmart’s favor, of course. Plug Power will have to take it or leave it.
      “I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it further.”

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