US grocer, Walmart, and hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) solutions provider, Plug Power, have today strengthened their partnership.
Walmart expanded its use of the supplier’s HFC cell solutions within its eCommerce network earlier this year, and said it has plans to further roll out the technology across its distribution network in 2021.
Plug Power has provided its ‘GenKey’ solutions to Walmart since 2010 for its material handling fleet. Over 9,500 of vehicles within the retailer’s 37 North American distribution centres, including tuggers and forklifts, are powered in this way.
Plug Power’s technology powers electric motors with hydrogen fuel cells, which the company claims offer its users environmental benefits and energy usage efficiencies. The supplier said HFC charging is quicker than batteries, thus reducing downtime for vehicles used across a retailer’s supply chain.
That type of power is now going to be used to fuel Walmart’s eCommerce business.
Jeff Smith, senior supply chain director at Walmart, said: “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 Plug Power’s hydrogen fuel cells has helped us manage and meet the increased demand for food and basic supplies.”
Andy Marsh, Plug Power CEO, added: “Walmart is one of our foundational customers, with our relationship rooted in trust and results as we work toward a more sustainable future together.”
In November, Walmart said it would be trialling electric vehicle usage for eCommerce deliveries in Scottsdale, Arizona, working with autonomous car company, Cruise. Plug Power has said it is developing its technology to expand into new markets such as zero-emission on-road vehicles, robotics, and data centres.
[Image credit: Walmart]