The anticipated joint venture between Plug Power and Axane will provide customers with a more efficient, hydrogen fuel cell alternative to battery-powered electric lift trucks.
The pairing combines the technical innovation of the Plug Power GenDrive® PEM fuel cell products with the European market presence of Air Liquide, one of the world’s largest hydrogen providers.
The joint venture will also enable Plug Power to leverage its success with its current base of global brand customers in North America, to further extend these relationships into the European market. Plug Power recently launched its next-generation GenDrive fuel cell products for lift trucks.
Plug Power and Air Liquide are currently working on GenDrive fuel cell system and hydrogen infrastructure deployments at a Walmart Canada distribution centre in Alberta, and at a Coca-Cola bottling and distribution facility in San Leandro, California.
‘As a leading global provider of hydrogen, Air Liquide is the ideal partner to help spearhead our expansion into the burgeoning European market,’ says Andy Marsh, CEO at Plug Power.
With its existing relationships with leading global brands, Air Liquide would bring a number of government funding relationships to the joint venture. For example, the Horizon Hydrogen Energy (H2E) program – coordinated by Air Liquide – is supported by the French agency for innovation support, OSEO. H2E aims to build sustainable and competitive hydrogen energy solutions.
‘This partnership will allow us to contribute throughout Europe to the deployment of non-polluting hydrogen fleets,’ says François Darchis, Senior Vice-President for the Air Liquide Group. ‘The forklift market prefigures the future development of the hydrogen-powered automobile market.’