LATHAM, N.Y., Feb. 1, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Plug Power Inc. (Nasdaq:PLUG) a leader in providing clean, reliable energy solutions announced that Central Grocers, Inc. has purchased an additional eleven GenDrive™ fuel cell units for its electric lift truck fleet in Joliet, Illinois. This increases Central Grocers grand total of fuel cell-powered lift trucks to 231. In addition to its impressive size and distribution network, the Central Grocers facility remains the largest grocery warehouse of its kind in the world, where all goods are handled with fuel cell-powered lift trucks.
Central Grocers purchased 220 GenDrive units in 2008 for its brand new $90 million distribution center. Joining the fleet are eight class-2 stand up reach truck units and three class-1 three wheel sit down counterbalanced truck units.
Central Grocers chose Plug Power's GenDrive fuel cell units, rather than traditional lead-acid batteries, as a cost effective solution to power its entire lift truck fleet. This decision was made prior to building the new distribution center. The need to build battery charging and changing infrastructure was eliminated, therefore reducing capital investment and opening up valuable floor space for the distribution business.Since the trucks began operations in 2009, Central Grocers has only seen productivity flourish at its facility, as operators spend more time moving product and less time dealing with a depleted battery. A boost in productivity is a result of trucks running at full speed for an entire shift and operators refueling equipment in as little as 60 seconds. At the same time, the company has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions as a result of the elimination of lead-acid battery charging and changing equipment. GenDrive is fueled with hydrogen; therefore, heat and water are the only byproducts of the electrochemical reaction. Plug Power customers have witnessed up to an 80 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.