We spend 60 seconds with Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug Power

 

What specific activities related to hydrogen is your company currently pursuing?

At Plug Power we’ve had great success helping major brands including Amazon and Walmart improve material handling operations with hydrogen powered automotives. Leveraging 10 years of experience with mobility applications, we’re now setting our sights on the future of hydrogen with on-road applications, pushing innovation with ProGen and developing engines for delivery vans, buses, and autonomous vehicles. Earlier this month, we announced with Workhorse the first ProGen fuel cell-powered electric delivery van for FedEx, which has successfully driven more than 3,000 miles in upstate New York. All the while, our core business remains strong, with our GenKey solution enabling companies to make a seamless transition to hydrogen fuel cell power for material handling operations or stationary power applications.

Can you share any hydrogen related milestones that your company has recently accomplished or is actively pursuing?

Thanks to our efforts within the material handling industry, Plug Power built a commercial market for hydrogen and fuel cells where one didn’t exist. We’re proud to say that we’ve successfully deployed more than 20,000 hydrogen fuel cells and have facilitated more than 12 million hydrogen fills and 150 million run hours in mobility applications. Our company is the first of its kind to focus on turnkey systems, combining hydrogen fuel cell systems, hydrogen infrastructure and fuel, deployment, and ongoing maintenance – making it much easier for companies to adopt commercial hydrogen at scale. By removing the common obstacles companies face when it comes to choosing hydrogen as a fuel, it becomes a no-brainer, whether it’s a company moving products within a warehouse, packages across the globe, or people from home to work.

Have you noticed any trends in the way hydrogen energy is being used in the regions where you operate? Where do you see potential for greater hydrogen use and integration into existing systems?

Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles have replaced battery electric vehicles as the no. 1 key trend in the automotive industry until 2025, according to KPMG’s most recent report. We’re seeing fleet vehicle operators like FedEx invest in a combination of hydrogen and battery power electric vehicles because the range is 166% farther than with batteries alone –  increasing vehicle uptime while decreasing fuel and maintenance costs. As autonomous vehicles become mainstream, hydrogen will become even more common; for example, an autonomous, fuel cell-powered electric Uber fleets could continuously pick up passengers without hours of downtime needed to recharge a battery-powered vehicle. There is also great potential for hydrogen in the drone industry due to the lightweight fuel and uptime numbers hydrogen delivers.

What most excites you about the potential for hydrogen use globally?

Hydrogen is the cleanest fuel available and its ability to provide power is limitless. For many countries, such as South Korea and Japan, a robust hydrogen infrastructure means a faster path to energy independence with potentially massive positive economic implications.

How has policy/regulation helped support the efforts you are pursuing in the energy space? In an ideal world, what would like to see happen next?

With policies such as the Business Energy Investment Tax Credit, more companies are willing to invest in hydrogen fuel cells. Once businesses integrate hydrogen fuel cells, they quickly see the impact with improved productivity and lower costs. In an ideal world, new programs will be introduced to encourage additional research to further optimize cost, extraction, and storage.