Plug Power Inc., a leader in providing clean, reliable energy solutions, has been advised that Eric Prades, CEO of Air Liquide Advanced Business, will join its board of directors as a director.

Prades brings more than 20 years of international strategic and operations leadership from his work at Air Liquide, especially in Hydrogen Energy markets. Since 2008, the group has grown to become a leader within the European hydrogen industry, having deployed hundreds of hydrogen fuel-cell systems.

Prades also oversees the Horizon Hydrogen Energy (H2E) program, an ambitious €200m research and development program, working to build sustainable and competitive hydrogen-energy solutions in France, throughout 2009 to 2016. The program, lead by Air Liquide, involves 19 other French companies, and is funded by Oseo, the French agency for innovation.

Before joining Air Liquide, Prades was at Thomson Group, where he had extensive operations experience in Europe and Asia through a variety of positions, ending as the General Manager of Operations for Thailand.

Prades joins the Plug Power board as part of a strategic $6.5m investment that will help fuel the company’s strategy to grow its hydrogen fuel cell business for forklift trucks and other horizontal markets. The company’s flagship GenDrive fuel cells are successfully deployed at customer sites such as Walmart, Sysco, P&G, BMW and the recently announced Ace Hardware Corp.

“Eric’s deep understanding of the technology and business dynamics of the hydrogen fuel cell market makes him a perfect candidate for our board of directors,” said Andy Marsh, President and CEO of Plug Power. “I am pleased to welcome Eric to our board and I look forward to working with him as we grow Plug Power.”

The architects of modern fuel cell technology, Plug Power revolutionised the industry with cost-effective power solutions that increase productivity, lower operating costs and reduce carbon footprints. Long-standing relationships with industry leaders forged the path for Plug Power’s key accounts, including Walmart, Sysco, P&G and Mercedes. With more than 4,000 GenDrive units deployed to material handling customers, accumulating over 10 million hours of runtime, Plug Power manufactures tomorrow’s incumbent power solutions today.