Plug Power and 3M have unveiled a supply agreement for membrane electrode assemblies (MEAs) to be used in the former's proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell stacks.

3M has applied its knowledge in electrochemistry, fluoropolymer membrane and high throughput manufacturing for advanced fuel cell MEAs, with Plug Power integrating this capability into its fuel cell stack designs to improve performance and extend life.

"3M is pleased to have the opportunity to draw upon our fuel cell expertise to supply Plug Power MEAs with performance, and durability," said 3M vice president of renewable energy, Jeffrey Hohn.

"Plug Power is a global leader in fuel cells and this relationship leverages both companies' strengths, enabling the next generation of electric mobility."

Through the supply agreement, fuel cell stacks will be manufactured in Plug Power's Latham, NY and Spokane, WA facilities to support the US$20bn material handling market.

Additionally, this new fuel cell stack technology will be used to expand Plug Power's presence into hydrogen-enabled electric vehicle applications outside the material handling market. Fuel cell systems using the 3M MEA's and Plug Power stack design will begin shipments in the fourth quarter of 2015.

"With this relationship, both Plug Power and 3M will set the benchmark for performance and reliability for hydrogen fuel cell products in the most demanding electric mobility application, material handling," said Plug Power CEO, Andy Marsh.

"The joint knowledge and development capability of both companies will facilitate additional cost and performance improvements for the future of the electric vehicle market."