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TheStreet Open House

Air Products' Hydrogen Fueling Technology Powering New Sysco Warehouse Operations

LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa., June 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The ribbon has been cut and Air Products' (NYSE: APD) hydrogen and fueling station technology is now onstream and will daily power Sysco Corporation's (NYSE: SYY) fleet of nearly 100 hydrogen fueled pallet trucks and forklifts operating at Sysco's new 585,000 square foot food service distribution facility in Houston, Texas.  The facility and hydrogen powered material handling equipment was showcased to business leaders and government representatives today at a Sysco event.  

"We have installed hydrogen fueling stations and infrastructure around the world.  The material handling market continues to show growing interest in converting to hydrogen powered fuel cell equipment.  This is a leading edge decision that was made, and Sysco should be commended," said Nick Mittica, commercial manager–Hydrogen Energy Systems at Air Products.  Details on Air Products' hydrogen fueling station technologies are provided at www.airproducts.com/h2energy.  

This cost-shared hydrogen fuel cell project includes a grant provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Fuel Cell Technology Program.  This facility is Sysco's first greenfield installation without battery infrastructure for a material handling fleet.  

Air Products' fueling infrastructure at Sysco includes an outdoor liquid hydrogen storage and compression system, along with multiple indoor fueling dispensers for operator refueling.  Air Products will fuel the fleet of pallet and reach trucks fitted with Plug Power's (Nasdaq: PLUG) GenDriveâ„¢ hydrogen fuel cell power units.  The GenDrive systems can be quickly refueled in less than five minutes, completely eliminating the need to change, store, charge and maintain multiple lead acid batteries per lift truck.

There are many advantages to using hydrogen powered forklifts and other material handling equipment.  Hydrogen fuel cell-powered equipment needs refueling once or twice daily, depending on use.  In contrast, traditional battery-powered equipment must be placed temporarily out of operation for battery replacement and required battery recharging approximately every four to six hours.  Hydrogen fuel cell-powered equipment provides consistent power strength during use and does not experience decreased performance or wear down as traditional lead acid battery units do as they near a required battery change out or recharge time.  Additionally, hydrogen fuel cell forklifts are not adversely impacted by temperature or by operating in coolers and freezers, in comparison to traditional battery performance.  Further, hydrogen-powered fuel cell equipment is more environmentally friendly because it does not involve lead-acid battery storage and disposal issues.

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