Nuvera Fuel Cells to supply hydrogen at Ace Hardware’s new distribution center

Ace Hardware Corporation has selected Nuvera Fuel Cells to be the hydrogen provider for its fuel cell lift truck fleet at its new Retail Support Center, located in Wilmer, Texas. Nuvera will install and maintain its PowerTap on-site hydrogen generation and refueling solution at the facility, which can produce up to 50 kg of hydrogen per day. The lift trucks are manufactured by The Raymond Corporation and will be powered using GenDrive® fuel cell units manufactured by Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG).

Ace Hardware elected to power its material handling equipment with fuel cells after comparing its costs and performance with standard and fast charge lead acid batteries. Ace will enjoy substantially increased productivity from its new equipment as well as a more efficient use of facility space. Operational costs will be reduced as a result of decreased operator and vehicle off-floor time. The forklifts can be fueled by truck operators in less than two minutes.

“We are pleased to have been selected by Ace Hardware as its hydrogen fuel provider,” said Prabhu Rao, Vice President of Commercial Operations at Nuvera Fuel Cells. “We are excited to see a growing number of leading companies like Ace turn to PowerTap product solutions to provide hydrogen in a safe, cost-effective and convenient manner.”

The conversion from batteries to fuel cell-powered forklifts also has substantial environmental benefits. “Ace Hardware’s forklifts will be fueled with hydrogen produced on-site from our PowerTap steam methane reformer,” said Gus Block, Director of Marketing at Nuvera. “About 45% of the hydrogen actually comes from water. We estimate that as a result of Ace Hardware’s new equipment, the company will be producing 70 tons less carbon dioxide and avoid 330,115 kWh of electrical consumption annually.”

Nuvera’s PowerTap on-site hydrogen generation, compression, and storage equipment will all be located on a small pad located adjacent to the new facility. Dispensers will be located indoors, making refueling convenient for operators.

Ace will be taking advantage of Nuvera’s PowerTap+ service that eliminates most of the upfront costs of bringing hydrogen to the site. Under this supply agreement, Nuvera retains ownership of the equipment, monitors performance remotely, and performs regular maintenance. This ensures efficient, uninterrupted hydrogen delivery.  

Construction on Ace Hardware’s new facility broke ground in mid-March and is scheduled for completion in early 2014.