VANCOUVER, May 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ: BLDP)(TSX: BLD) congratulates Plug Power on its recent announcement of a strategic investment from Air Liquide. Plug Power is the leader in providing fuel cell systems in material handling applications with their flagship product GenDrive TM, each powered by a Ballard fuel cell stack. Plug Power customers in grocery, retail, warehousing and manufacturing operations are recognizing productivity and environmental benefits available from fuel cell-powered material handling equipment, and are driving growth in the market. The direct investment in Plug Power by Air Liquide, one of the leading industrial hydrogen fuelling solution companies, reflects a major commitment to the fuel cell material handling market. As such, it represents a positive and important development. Air Liquide's investment in Plug Power is one of a number of strategic investments in the fuel cell sector announced recently, including Cummins Inc.'s investment in Relion and Anglo American Platinum's investment in Ballard Power Systems. In the material handling market, an increasing number of companies are re-ordering Plug Power GenDrive TM systems after experiencing financial savings from initial system deployments. For example, Walmart Canada deployed 95 fuel cell lift trucks at its sustainable refrigerated distribution centre in Alberta, Canada, reducing operating costs by $1.1 million over seven years, compared to the use of battery-powered forklift trucks. Walmart now has more than 500 fuel cell forklifts operating in three warehouses, including a freezer facility. Other Plug Power customers with GenDrive TM systems at multiple sites include: Procter & Gamble with 340 systems at 4 sites; Sysco with more than 600 systems at 7 sites; and Coca-Cola with 96 systems at 2 sties. Plug Power is the leading hydrogen fuel cell supplier for material handling operations in North America, with over 90 percent market share. Ballard Power Systems is the exclusive supplier of liquid- and air-cooled fuel cell stacks for Plug Power's suite of GenDrive TM power units serving the full range of Class 1, 2 and 3 electric forklifts. Zero-emission fuel cell-powered lift trucks deliver economic, operational as well as environmental benefits, when compared to traditional battery systems operating in high-throughput distribution centre and warehouse environments. Advantages are a direct result of increased forklift productivity, driven by factors that include availability of constant power and minimal hydrogen refuelling time.