The Results are In!

Industry Leaders Gather to Celebrate Fuel Cell-Powered GSE Results

On August 15, Plug Power hosted an unveiling of the results of its U.S. Department of Energy sponsored airport ground support equipment program at its headquarters in Latham, NY. The event was a chance to celebrate the successes and learning opportunities of the program, and featured several VIPs including the following:

  • Congressman Paul Tonko, D-NY-20th District
  • John O’Donnell, CEO of the Albany County Airport Authority
  • Rob Lamb, Charlatte Vice-President of Sales and Service
  • Michael Hahn, DOE Technology Manager

The event was hosted by Plug Power CEO, Andy Marsh. Plug Power’s Vice-President of Service, Joe Blanchard, was on hand to announce the results.

As you remember, the hydrogen-powered ground support equipment (GSE) program began at the FedEx Hub at the Memphis International Airport in 2015. A total of 15 Charlatte CT5E baggage tractors equipped with Plug Power hydrogen fuel cells were deployed along with an on-site hydrogen delivery system. The initial 2 phases of the program were completed in Memphis in late 2018 with the plan to continue phase 3 in Albany, NY.

At the start of 2019, phase 3 of the program was launched at the Albany International Airport, almost in view from Plug Power’s parking lot. This phase again supported the freight operation of FedEx, albeit on a different scale than in Memphis.

The purpose of this program phase was to continue to collect operational data and to test the hydrogen-powered baggage tractors in a northern winter climate. The ProGen-powered Charlatte CT5E units were put into service on February 19th. One of the modifications made to the tractors moving from Memphis to Albany was the addition of a cold weather cab to protect the operators from the elements. 

Another significant difference between Memphis and Albany was the method of fueling and servicing the fuel cells. Guests had the opportunity to see firsthand, the Capital Region’s only outdoor hydrogen dispenser. The dispenser was used to refuel the units during the program.

A few of the metrics from the Albany Airport program:

 

So…What’s next?

At the end of June, a decision was made to continue to operate the hydrogen-powered baggage tractors at the Albany Airport. FedEx and Plug Power will continue to cooperate and support the model established during this program for the foreseeable future. The tractor(s) featured at the event  will continue to move freight and packages on a regular basis at the Albany Airport. 

Notable Quotes from the Day!

“We have precious little time to waste, and we need to move ahead aggressively. When I see leadership coming from the private sector, like that of Plug Power, I’m impressed. Thank you for always stretching our thinking, providing for an innovative message.” ~ Congressman Paul Tonko

“We’ve put thousands and thousands of hours on these units with zero emissions. In contribution to trying to change the norm, these solutions do that.” ~ Joe Blanchard

“Reducing the carbon footprint is essential to our future. Seeing these tugs, these could be all over the airport. Utilizing these vehicles throughout the airport – for tuggers or belt loaders, all the GSE equipment you see – is essential.” ~  John O’Donnell

“This project and diversification of hydrogen applications is important, because the energy sector has challenges to deliver resilience, security, availability, and flexibility – all while lowering emissions and impacts to air quality.” ~ Michael Hahn