Plug Power Provides Power for Ground Support Equipment

hydrogen day logoNational Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Day (10.08) was created to help raise awareness of a clean energy technology that is here now. We’re celebrating all week. This continued innovation highlights adoption for these solutions, today.


Plug Power Provides Power for Ground Support Equipment

By John Cococcia, VP Business Development & Investor Relations

As airports move to smarter, more environmentally-conscious ways to lower their carbon footprint, Plug Power has developed a rugged hybrid hydrogen fuel cell product for ground support equipment (GSE), starting with the airport tractors for package dollies. The company has been powering 15 GSE units under a DOE-sponsored trial at the Memphis, TN airport for over a year now. This first phase has allowed us to continue to build the commercial business case while verifying a number of operating parameters.

Fuel cell performance metrics:

  • sustain the rugged environment of an airportFedEx fuel cell tugger
  • operate 24×7 outdoors – in all weather conditions, proving all weatherproofing strategies are performing to plan
  • pull the required 40,000 lb. of cargo on airport dollies
  • operate its worst-case route for a full shift without needing to refuel; and
  • allow users to quickly refuel and get back to moving cargo using the outdoor GenFuel hydrogen fueling station .

The first successful phase of the DOE-sponsored trial showed that fuel cells are capable of meeting the needs of the application.  Plug Power has taken the first phase data and customer input to refine the solution. Plug Power is now deploying the second generation of the product, moving the product from beta to pre-production.

Some key refinements have elevated this product to the next level.  The new unit includes a Plug Power fuel cell stack, increasing the reliability of the fuel cell engine.  Plug Power engineers have improved the serviceability of the system for ease of maintenance to ensure  high system availability in the demanding GSE application.

Consistent with other Plug Power systems, the GSE unit is enabled with Plug Power’s SiteView IoT data-collecting/reporting, making game-changing fleet diagnostics, fueling data, and performance metrics available to customers.  This enables unparalleled “best in class” uptime to industry professionals who use Plug Power’s fuel cells to power their electric vehicles. (To read more about SiteView – click here!)

Up Next: 3-tier rollout of 2.0 units

The first second generation unit shipped to Memphis in September. More will ship in October, and the final group in November – putting all 15 units into operation just in time for the busiest season for airport package delivery – “the holidays”. During these hectic months, it’s critical that the GSE is operational at all times.

Looking Forward

In the spirit of Infinite Drive, Plug Power’s business development teams are evaluating airport vehicles beyond the GSE. The development of a broader deployment on the campus will offer further opportunities for the airport to lower its carbon footprint while increasing productivity and reducing costs.  We look forward to driving this two year, DOE-sponsored demo through to conclusion in 2017.  #InfiniteDrive