A PowerTap™ generator went live at Ace Hardware’s new state-of-the-art Retail Support Center in West Jefferson, Ohio. This is the second facility for Ace that is equipped with a Nuvera PowerTap PT-50 on-site hydrogen generator and fuelling solution.

The system produces and dispenses up to 50 kg/day of high-purity hydrogen to service a fleet of 35 fuel cell-powered reach trucks and 36 fuel cell pallet jacks running a single 10-hour shift, five days a week, plus a floor scrubber. The investment is expected to result in electrical consumption savings for Ace of 330,115 kWh annually by avoiding the need to charge a battery-powered fleet.

The PowerTap™ hydrogen supply equipment is located on a concrete pad outside of the facility. Indoor floor space normally occupied by the battery room is dedicated to productive use. As demonstrated at Ace’s first fuel cell forklift installation in Wilmer, Texas, Ace hopes to enjoy improved operational productivity from its fuel cell forklift fleet, based on vehicle range extensions of 300% or more, full-power consistency in operational voltage and refuel times under five minutes offered by fuel-cell-versus battery-powered fleets.  

“The implementation of a hydrogen fuel cell-based application for our material handling equipment advances Ace’s efforts to use clean energy,” said Dave Forte, Director of Distribution Support and Engineering at Ace Hardware. By using Nuvera’s PowerTap™ equipment to generate hydrogen from natural gas and city water, the first site in Wilmer, Texas is on track to reduce carbon dioxide emissions caused by material handling equipment by 70 tonnes within a year. Similar in scale, the Ohio distribution centre is another greenfield site expected to achieve equivalent greenhouse gas reductions.

Ace had multiple options when considering a hydrogen source to enable the productivity gains of its new fuel cell fleets. Rather than rely on delivered hydrogen, Ace chose on-site hydrogen generation. With PowerTap™, Nuvera provides a scalable solution to match energy demands of a growing fleet.

“The cost of hydrogen is a key enabler of the fuel cell value proposition. We are very pleased to work with Ace Hardware to provide a cost-effective and modular hydrogen solution across multiple locations,” explains Prabhu Rao, Chief Commercial Officer at Nuvera.

Beyond providing efficiently scaled supply, on-site generation avoids permitting and safety issues associated with storing large amounts of hydrogen on the premises, since the hydrogen is used as it is generated. On-site hydrogen generation also offers substantial environmental and logistical benefits. It eliminates the carbon footprint and energy losses associated with fuel delivery, as well as the logistical issues related to storage and delivery of hydrogen.