Plug Power Inc. has successfully completed the installation of its first GenFuel hydrogen infrastructure for the ground support equipment (GSE) market at Memphis Airport.

The GenFuel infrastructure deployment includes a standard hydrogen storage tank, compression system, fuel pipelines, and Plug Power’s first outdoor GenFuel hydrogen dispensers that will be used for a 15-truck fleet of airport tuggers powered by Plug Power fuel cells.

The outdoor hydrogen dispenser varies from its indoor counterpart by providing an all-weather enclosure capable of protecting the equipment from harsh elements that can be experienced on an airport tarmac such as rain, snow, direct sun, high winds and extreme temperatures.

Similar to the GenFuel experience at other customer sites, the Memphis truck drivers will simply pull their GSE vehicles up to the dispenser and personally refuel in just three to four minutes.

“Plug Power’s ability to offer customers both indoor and outdoor GenFuel solutions allows us to broaden our reach even further into adjacent markets like ground support equipment,” said Andy Marsh, CEO at Plug Power. “The all-weather outdoor dispenser is a natural addition to the GenFuel portfolio.”

Efficiency

The Plug Power GSE fuel cells are specially designed to power airport tuggers, and are based on proven GenDrive architecture.

But, the rugged GSE units differ from GenDrive units sold for the material handling market, due in part to the larger 20kW power output requirements, and because this application is extremely demanding, requiring units to be run and stored exclusively outdoors. Despite the harsh conditions, the fuel cells operate at least twice as efficiently as diesel engines, providing customers with a positive economic payback based on fuel savings.

Hydrogen fuel cells generate only heat and water as waste by-products. Using fuel cells as the power source, the tugger immediately becomes a zero emission vehicle. Upon start-up, the fuel cell-powered vehicle becomes compliant with EPA Tier 4 final emissions standards.

The outdoor fuelling infrastructure opens the door for Plug Power to provide hydrogen fuelling to other new applications, such as electric vehicle range extenders.