MRO Magazine

GENCO purchases 136 GenDrive fuel cells from Plug Power


October 9, 2009
By PEM Magazine

LATHAM, NY – Plug Power Inc., a leader in providing clean energy solutions, recently announced receipt of a purchase order from GENCO Supply Chain Solutions for 136 GenDrive fuel cell power units. The order consists of 100 class-3 pallet jack units and 36 class-2 standup reach truck units. In turn, GENCO will provide the units to Wegmans at its distribution facilities for conversion of lift truck fleets in their produce and grocery buildings. At Wegmans’ Pottsville, Pennsylvania facility, the GenDrive units will be placed into Crown lift trucks provided by Lift Inc.

The funding for the fuel cells is part of a $6.1 million award made to GENCO in April, 2009 by the US Department of Energy (DOE) through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The DOE intends this funding to accelerate the commercialization and deployment of fuel cells and create jobs in fuel cell manufacturing, installation, maintenance and support services.
The Wegmans project will consist of various phases through 2012. The first phase includes a 59 unit fleet conversion of the produce building. Subsequent phases will allow Wegmans to expand its use of the GenDrive solution at its facilities.
GenDrive fuel cell units will provide Wegmans with increased productivity and decreased operational costs due to the elimination of lead-acid batteries at its facility. Lead-acid batteries lose charge and operational performance over an entire shift. Also, specialized labor, equipment and additional time is needed to change, charge and maintain the toxic power source. By replacing lead-acid batteries with GenDrive fuel cells, Wegmans will be able to run their equipment at full speed for an entire shift, thereby maximizing efficiency. Refueling with hydrogen is safe and takes up to one minute.
At the same time, hydrogen fuel cells reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Conversion of the produce building alone allows Wegmans to reduce its carbon emissions in an amount equivalent to removing 134 cars of the road each year. Over the lifetime of the project, 4,064,445 kWh of energy will be off-set.
“Customers across the United States understand the immense impact hydrogen fuel cells have on material handling operations. GENCO and Wegmans are acting as leaders in this revolution,” said Andy Marsh, CEO at Plug Power. “This installation is strongly aligned with the DOE’s intent of transforming the energy market and accelerating the use of hydrogen fuel cells for significant economic impact and creation and retention of U.S.-based green jobs.”
"We are excited about this project with Wegmans and the opportunities it will present. GENCO is committed to advancing technologies, alternative energy sources and environmental sustainability,” said Bob Simon, program manager and Six Sigma Master Black Belt.  “The DOE award makes it possible for us to move forward with these initiatives and present our customers and partners with value solutions."
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