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Amazon Fulfillment Centre to use hydrogen power infrastructure

05 February 2024

HYDROGEN GENERATED at the site in Colorado will power forklift trucks and help lower emissions.

Plug Power has completed the installation and commissioning of an electrolyser system at an Amazon fulfillment centre in Aurora, Colorado. The one-megawatt (MW) proton exchange membrane electrolyzer is the first for Amazon and is producing low-carbon hydrogen to fuel more than 225 hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklift trucks at the site, known as DEN8.

Amazon director of global hydrogen economy Asad Jafry, says: “Hydrogen is an important tool in our efforts to decarbonise our operations by 2040 in support of The Climate Pledge, and we’re excited about our ability to produce hydrogen at Amazon facilities through this partnership with Plug. On-site production will make the use of hydrogen even more energy efficient for certain locations and types of facilities.”

The Plug 1MW electrolyser, which uses electricity and water to produce hydrogen, is able to support up to 400 hydrogen fuel cell-powered forklift trucks. The hydrogen produced by the electrolyser will be compressed on site and stored in a gaseous hydrogen storage tank for use by the forklift trucks.

To date, Plug has collaborated with Amazon to deploy more than 17,000 fuel cells to replace batteries in forklifts in more than 80 fulfillment centres in North America. For most of these locations, hydrogen to power the forklifts is produced elsewhere, liquified, and delivered by trucks to an on-site storage and dispensing system.

Plug recognised an opportunity—particularly in locations where more renewable electricity is generated than the site needs at a given time—to use that surplus electricity to produce and store hydrogen on site. This model also avoids the emissions typically generated in liquifying and transporting hydrogen from one site to another.

For this project, Plug provided design, installation, commissioning, and maintenance services for the 1MW PEM electrolyser and hydrogen storage—compatible with the existing refueling infrastructure and fuel cells already in use at the site. This is the first electrolyser system installed and in use at an Amazon site.