Plug Power is providing UK-based supermarket, Asda with hydrogen fuel cell solutions to power the lift truck fleet.

Asda’s partnership with Plug Power includes a purchase order agreement for Plug Power’s full-service GenKey solution, starting at the UK facility in Skelmersdale.

The turnkey solution includes fuel cells, hydrogen fuelling equipment, hydrogen and service. The new customer continues Plug Power’s growth in Europe and represents the first deployment at scale of hydrogen fuel cell technology for material handling within the UK.

The effort reduces Asda’s reliance on traditional lead acid batteries for power in their material handling fleet and is part of a broader initiative designed to make the company’s operations more environmentally-friendly.

“Each new opportunity to expand the adoption of hydrogen fuel cells is an important step to building the hydrogen economy,” said Plug Power CEO, Andy Marsh.

Asda is a wholly-owned subsidiary of multinational retailer, Walmart, which itself is a long-time Plug Power customer.

As with its parent company, Asda maintains sole control over the entirety of its logistics network, which includes more than 30 distribution centres staffed by more than 12,000 employees across the UK. Asda is committed to meeting its target to remove 1bn tonnes of emissions globally as part of Project Gigaton, with 179 Asda suppliers having already signed up, saving 29m tonnes of emissions.

Fuel cell powered logistics equipment enables distribution centres to achieve substantial productivity gains and higher material velocity by eliminating the downtime required for battery charging and changing.

In addition, the fuel cell solution frees up floor space by removing the need for multiple batteries per truck and replacing bulky battery charging and changing stations with a compact hydrogen fuel dispenser.