LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa., June 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The ribbon has been cut and Air Products' (NYSE: APD) hydrogen and fueling station technology is now onstream and will daily power Sysco Corporation's (NYSE: SYY) fleet of nearly 100 hydrogen fueled pallet trucks and forklifts operating at Sysco's new 585,000 square foot food service distribution facility in Houston, Texas. The facility and hydrogen powered material handling equipment was showcased to business leaders and government representatives today at a Sysco event.
"We have installed hydrogen fueling stations and infrastructure around the world. The material handling market continues to show growing interest in converting to hydrogen powered fuel cell equipment. This is a leading edge decision that was made, and Sysco should be commended," said Nick Mittica, commercial manager–Hydrogen Energy Systems at Air Products. Details on Air Products' hydrogen fueling station technologies are provided at www.airproducts.com/h2energy.
This cost-shared hydrogen fuel cell project includes a grant provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Fuel Cell Technology Program. This facility is Sysco's first greenfield installation without battery infrastructure for a material handling fleet.
Air Products' fueling infrastructure at Sysco includes an outdoor liquid hydrogen storage and compression system, along with multiple indoor fueling dispensers for operator refueling. Air Products will fuel the fleet of pallet and reach trucks fitted with Plug Power's (Nasdaq: PLUG) GenDrive™ hydrogen fuel cell power units. The GenDrive systems can be quickly refueled in less than five minutes, completely eliminating the need to change, store, charge and maintain multiple lead acid batteries per lift truck.
There are many advantages to using hydrogen powered forklifts and other material handling equipment. Hydrogen fuel cell-powered equipment needs refueling once or twice daily, depending on use. In contrast, traditional battery-powered equipment must be placed temporarily out of operation for battery replacement and required battery recharging approximately every four to six hours. Hydrogen fuel cell-powered equipment provides consistent power strength during use and does not experience decreased performance or wear down as traditional lead acid battery units do as they near a required battery change out or recharge time. Additionally, hydrogen fuel cell forklifts are not adversely impacted by temperature or by operating in coolers and freezers, in comparison to traditional battery performance. Further, hydrogen-powered fuel cell equipment is more environmentally friendly because it does not involve lead-acid battery storage and disposal issues.
Air Products' hydrogen fueling technology is currently being used to fuel over 300 material handling vehicles including: fuel cell powered pallet trucks at Wegmans Retail Service Center in Pottsville, Pa.; fuel cell powered lift trucks at Central Grocers' new distribution center in Joliet, Ill.; hydrogen fuel cell powered forklifts at Nestlé Waters North America in Dallas, Tex.; hydrogen fuel cell powered forklifts at the Defense Distribution Depot Susquehanna Pennsylvania in New Cumberland, Pa.; as well as hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklifts at several other customers in the United States. In addition, mobile fueling equipment unique and patented by Air Products has been and continues to be deployed to a variety of customers for the purpose of demonstrating the technology in real world conditions.
Air Products, the leading hydrogen supplier to refineries to assist in making cleaner burning transportation fuels, has unique experience in the hydrogen fueling industry. In fact, in certain market applications, fueling rates at several individual sites of over 10,000 refills per year are occurring. These applications provide an opportunity to assess consumer experiences, evaluate product performance and advance product improvements. The company has placed over 110 hydrogen fueling stations in the United States and 18 countries worldwide. Cars, trucks, vans, buses, scooters, forklifts, locomotives, planes, cell towers, material handling equipment, and even submarines have been fueled with this trend-setting technology that involves Air Products' know-how, equipment and hydrogen. Use of the company's technology is increasing and is currently at 175,000 hydrogen fills per year.
Air Products has more than 50 years of hydrogen experience and is on the forefront of hydrogen energy technology development. Air Products has an extensive patent portfolio with over 50 patents in hydrogen dispensing technology. Air Products provides liquid and gaseous hydrogen, and HCNG (hydrogen/compressed natural gas) fueling, and has developed a variety of enabling devices and protocols for fuel dispensing at varied pressures. Hydrogen for these stations is delivered to a site via truck, produced by natural gas reformation, biomass conversion, or by electrolysis, including electrolysis that is solar and wind driven.
About Air Products
Air Products (NYSE: APD) serves customers in industrial, energy, technology and healthcare markets worldwide with a unique portfolio of atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials, and equipment and services. Founded in 1940, Air Products has built leading positions in key growth markets such as semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, home healthcare services, natural gas liquefaction, and advanced coatings and adhesives. The company is recognized for its innovative culture, operational excellence and commitment to safety and the environment. In fiscal 2009, Air Products had revenues of $8.3 billion, operations in over 40 countries, and 18,900 employees around the globe. For more information, visit www.airproducts.com.
About Plug Power Inc.
The architects of modern fuel cell technology, Plug Power revolutionized the industry with cost-effective power solutions that increase productivity, lower operating costs and reduce carbon footprints. Long-standing relationships with industry leaders forged the path for our key accounts, including Sysco, Wegmans, Whole Foods, and FedEx Freight. With more than 1,000 units in the field and over 1.5 million hours of runtime, Plug Power manufactures tomorrow's incumbent power solutions today. Visit us at www.plugpower.com.
Sysco is the global leader in selling, marketing and distributing food products to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, lodging establishments and other customers who prepare meals away from home. Its family of products also includes equipment and supplies for the foodservice and hospitality industries. The company operates 186 distribution facilities serving approximately 400,000 customers. For the fiscal year 2009 that ended June 27, 2009, the company generated more than $36 billion in sales.
Sysco Houston's distribution facility is at 10710 Greens Crossing Boulevard in North Houston.
For more information about Sysco visit www.sysco.com.
***NOTE: This release may contain forward-looking statements. Actual results could vary materially, due to changes in current expectations.
SOURCE Air Products