ITM Power, an energy storage and clean fuel company has signed a pilot agreement with M&S, to deliver the UK’s first hydrogen fuel cell materials handling trial using on-site hydrogen.

Using the ITM Power HFuel platform to generate hydrogen, the six week trial involves M&S using several fuel cell vehicles as a direct substitute for part of the existing battery powered fleet. The vehicles will be deployed at M&S’s 1.1m 2ft Prologis Park Distribution Centre.

The involvement of companies such as M&S is essential to developing commercially viable hydrogen solutions for the materials handling industry.

Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power

The trial forms part of the M&S Plan A initiative, and aims to deliver zero emission vehicles with superior performance and a two minute refuel time. The trial is the first of its kind in the UK.

Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power commented, “The involvement of companies such as M&S is essential to developing commercially viable hydrogen solutions for the materials handling industry. We are extremely pleased to be conducting this trial with M&S who continue to lead the way for sustainable technology deployment.”

Darrell Stein, Director of IT and Logistics for M&S reiterated Cooley’s positivity, “We are excited to be trialling this solution with a company like ITM Power, and with a technology which has the potential to drive significant carbon reductions from our warehouse operations. If we’re to achieve our ambitious goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable major retailer then we must continue to innovate and push the boundaries in every part of our business”.

The global materials handling market, valued at $20bn, is pitted by many as a key early adoption market for hydrogen with fuel cells already being able to offer superior performance to battery powered systems.