Sustainability

Helping Walmart Meet Sustainability Goals with Fuel Cell Technology

By  Andy Marsh, CEO, Plug Power Inc. May 16, 2014

Sustainability is important to growing industry in the world we live in today. Leading corporations are always on the lookout for new ways to make operations cleaner and more environmentally friendly. Plug Power, the premier systems integrator for hydrogen fuel cell systems, provides companies with an economically viable solution to help them meet their sustainability goals.

Walmart specifically has made clear that they maintain three sustainability goals:

  1. To be supplied 100% by renewable energy
  2. To create zero waste
  3.  To sell products that sustain people and the environment

Through a partnership with Plug Power, companies like Walmart can get closer to meeting their objectives.

Since 2012, we have been working together with Walmart to bring a zero-emission power source distribution warehouses in North America. This depends on material handling lift trucks for moving pallets full of perishable foods and consumer products down from warehouse storage shelves and into delivery truck trailers.

Traditionally, lead-acid batteries have powered these warehouse lift trucks. But any grid-dependent power can be polluting, hazardous and wasteful. A fuel cell on the other hand, runs on clean hydrogen fuel. Plug Power’s GenDrive fuel cells are designed as a drop-in replacement for the batteries – you just pull the battery out of the forklift and drop in a GenDrive unit.

Not only do fuel cells produce only heat and water as a by-product, but they also eliminate the need for Walmart to use up valuable space on its warehouse floor for battery storage and charging. GenDrive fuel cells are easily refueled by the truck operator in as little as 60 seconds, significantly decreasing the amount of time lift trucks are not operational during the day.
 
To date, Walmart has more than 500 GenDrive fuel cell units in operation at several warehouses, including its Washington Courthouse facility in Ohio, and a fresh food distribution center in Balzac, Canada, considered the most energy-efficient distribution facility of its kind in North America.
 
Most exciting, Walmart is about to expand that number dramatically with a roll out that totals more than 1,700 new GenDrive units to be installed in forklift trucks at six more Walmart warehouses in North America.

Plug Power is making it much easier to bring sustainability to these new sites because it has become a one-stop hydrogen solution provider, delivering fuel cells, hydrogen, maintenance service and support.

Hydrogen-powered fuel cells emit only a small amount of heat and water, making them an environmentally-friendly alternative energy source. By using hydrogen fuel cells in material distribution warehouses, Walmart is deploying lift truck operations that are efficient, clean, quiet, and most importantly, sustainable.


Read more from Andy Marsh

2 Comments

Lee PageMAY 20, 2014 1:59 PM

How is your company working to ensure the ethical and humane treatment of animals throughout the company's supply chain? How is your company ensuring that product offerings are cruelty free?

FLAG Reply
Matt FordJUNE 11, 2014 3:09 AM

They produce forklifts, what the hell do animals have to do with it?

FLAG Reply

Related Posts

Sustainable Farming with True Affordability in Mind

By Tim Richter, Member, The Triple Bottom Line

At the LEGO Group, Working to Build a Better Tomorrow

By Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, President and CEO of the LEGO Group

Top 10 Eco-Friendly Features of Walmart Stores

By Don Moseley, PE, Senior Manager of Sustainability Facilities at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

What Walmart Needs to Go 100% Renewable

By Joshua Ryor of WRI & Bryn Baker of WWF

3 Technologies Farmers are Using to Protect the Environment

By Jerry Lynch, Chief Sustainability Officer, General Mills

@WalmartGreen

She needs us to invest in renewable energy. We're listening. Walmart is working toward a 100% renewable energy goal. #NatureIsSpeaking

By Walmart Green

4:06pm October 21, 2014

We learned how 6 farmers of @TBLcommodities collaborated to improve efficiency, sustainability & food affordability: http://t.co/U2FQ62ki57

By Walmart Green

6:09am October 21, 2014

Big box retailers like @Walmart are leading the way in solar power: http://t.co/ZkR5x4lb5a http://t.co/BceVOihfQE

By Walmart Green

4:16pm October 20, 2014

Most Popular

Halloweekend: Making the Most of a Friday Halloween

By Charles Ritter, Vice President, Seasonal, Walmart U.S.

Trade in used video games for Walmart credit

By Justin Williamson, Director, Entertainment, Walmart

Simplifying Access to Digital Movies

By Gibu Thomas, Senior Vice President, Mobile and Digital, Walmart Global eCommerce