Plug Power Inc. has announced Golden State Foods has deployed GenDrive hydrogen fuel cells in the material handling fleet at its new food distribution centre in Illinois.

Plug Power will supply GenDrive fuel cells to power 39 material handling vehicles – 11 class-2 stand-up reach lift trucks and 28 class-3 rider pallet trucks.

Plug Power will also provide Golden State Foods with GenCare onsite maintenance and service.

Golden State Foods is a global, California-based food distributor for the quick service restaurant industry, with customers such as Starbucks, Arby’s and Taco Bell. The 158,300 square-foot regional headquarters and logistics centre built on a 15-acre parcel west of Chicago, will serve more than 460 McDonald’s in the Midwest region.

The facility incorporates Golden State Food’s sustainability initiatives by meeting LEED Gold Certification standards and integrating green operations solutions, including the zero-emission hydrogen fuel cells from Plug Power.

“We understand how important it is to Golden State Foods to ensure that day-to-day operations are highly efficient, with minimal ecological impact,” said Andy Marsh, Plug Power CEO. “Integration of GenDrive fuel cells into the material handling fleet at the company’s brand new logistics centre will enable it to meet those strategic goals, and will have positive productivity and cost-saving impacts.”

Plug Power’s GenDrive fuel cells are a clean alternative to lead-acid batteries, and are designed to fit into all major OEM material handling vehicles. Using fuel cells eliminates the need for battery storage and charging rooms, enabling customers to free-up valuable warehouse space and removing the possibility of contamination from lead and sulfuric acid in the work environment.

Lift and pallet trucks powered by fuel cells improve reliability, enable cost savings and provide greater productivity. They run at full speed even when fuel is low and can be re-fuelled within minutes, as compared to battery-powered trucks that experience voltage drops and speed reductions when the charge runs down.

GenCare is Plug Power’s ongoing maintenance service, including advanced system monitoring, preventive maintenance, periodic system enhancements, parts inventory logs and rapid-response onsite service by GenCare technicians.