Airgas, Inc. and Nuvera Fuel Cells, Inc., have jointly announced a five-year marketing, sales, and service agreement to provide PowerTapTM hydrogen generators and stations to the North American material handling market.

Under the agreement, Nuvera will manufacture the PowerTap systems and Airgas will provide distribution, installation, monitoring and maintenance of the equipment, as well as backup hydrogen, at customer sites.

PowerTap is a hydrogen generator and hydrogen station, part of the Nuvera Total Power Solution that includes PowerEdge™, a fuel cell hybrid system that replaces standard lead acid batteries in material handling equipment such as forklift trucks. The PowerTap generator uses steam reformation technology to produce hydrogen from natural gas.

$quot;We're very happy to be partnering with Nuvera to deliver all the benefits of on-site hydrogen generation to customers with warehouses and forklifts,$quot; said Peter McCausland, Airgas Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

$quot;For customers who want to increase productivity while reducing their environmental impact, this sustainable technology lowers CO2 emissions while eliminating more costly, resource-intense battery installations and disposal.”

“By combining Nuvera's technology and manufacturing expertise with Airgas' nationwide distribution capability, we're able to provide the lowest total cost energy solution for these customers.$quot;

According to McCausland, Airgas will provide lease and maintenance programmes for PowerTap systems so customers can avoid the upfront capital cost associated with purchasing the equipment.

$quot;We are extremely pleased to be working with Airgas, whose strong national presence, sharp customer focus, and operational capabilities will provide a competitive offering to prospective Total Power Solution customers,$quot; said Roberto Cordaro, Nuvera Fuel Cells Chief Executive Officer.

$quot;With this new distribution and service channel for our PowerTap systems, and source for backup hydrogen, the material handling market has a reliable, cost-effective and reputable source of hydrogen that will further the commercialisation of Nuvera's products.$quot;