Plug Power today announced it has received a significant GenKey contract from a leading retailer to roll out its turnkey hydrogen fuel cell system solutions at six North America distribution centers over approximately a two-year period.

The first site is expected to be operational in the second quarter of 2014.

With this deal, Plug Power solidifies its position as the premier global proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell system solution provider. This landmark contract is a result of demonstrated performance and customer trust gained through proven Plug Power expertise and know-how. The contract is a notable event in the history of the mobile fuel cell industry and demonstrates that this technology has become mainstream.

The multi-site GenKey deal includes over 1,500 GenDrive PEM fuel cell power units coupled with multi-year contracts for GenFuel hydrogen, GenFuel fueling infrastructure, and GenCare service. GenKey makes the transition to hydrogen fuel cell power seamless for customers, as Plug Power delivers a complete range of turnkey services to simplify the conversion process.

“GenKey accelerates the transition to GenDrive fuel cells and enables rapid fleet conversion. This allows customers to swiftly realise the advantages of increased productivity and improved environmental benefits,” said Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug Power. “This turnkey deal represents a significant milestone for Plug Power. We’ve, without a doubt, clearly demonstrated our leadership position as the premier provider of industrial fuel cell solutions. In the coming year, we plan to grow not only in the material handling industry, but also expand into other fleet vehicle applications such as transport refrigeration units, ground support equipment and range extenders.”

Plug Power has over 4,500 GenDrive units deployed with leading North American material handling operators, such as Walmart, Procter & Gamble, Kroger, BMW and Mercedes Benz. GenDrive is an attractive power solution that improves customer productivity while reducing operational costs. GenDrive replaces multiple lead acid batteries, eliminates time-consuming battery changes and operates at 100% output power for a full shift without the effects of battery degradation. Furthermore, GenDrive fuel cells offer environmental benefits to customers, supporting sustainable operations through greenhouse gas emission reductions when compared to charging batteries from the grid.