In an exclusive interview, Plug Power’s CEO, Andy Marsh discusses the recently announced partnership with Chung-Hsin Electric and Machinery Manufacturing Corporation (CHEM), a Taiwanese manufacturer of electric solutions.
Plug Power, a manufacturer of hydrogen and fuel cell technology prides itself in taking hydrogen and fuel cell technology from concept to commercialisation. The company has worked to revolutionise the material handling industry with its fuel cell, and more specifically its GenKey solution.
April (2019) saw Plug Power announce its latest partnership with CHEM which further strengthens Plug Power’s presence in a variety of industries using fuel cell technology.
“As we work to continue expanding the use of hydrogen power all over the world, this partnership allowed us to provide clean, highly reliable backup power solutions in emerging markets where the electric grid is less robust,” Marsh explained.
“We’re excited to gain access to these new markets thanks to this partnership with CHEM.”
Through the partnership, Plug Power will supply its 5kW ProGen hydrogen engines to CHEM, which are then integrated into CHEM’s stationary power products for grid support and backup power applications.
“The 5kW ProGen engine being used with CHEM is essentially the same fuel cell technology Plug Power developed in our GenDrive fuel cells.”
“Success with this technology coupled with our years of experience developing products for the critical communication market enabled us to innovate a product that meets the specific requirements CHEM markets.”
“The product is actually two 2.5kW fuel cells working in conjunction to provide a 5kW output.”
The ProGen hydrogen engine provided to CHEM, is an integrated fuel cell system that includes the fuel cell stack, power conversion, and controls in a single, pre-engineered OEM module.
When asked about how the recent partnership with CHEM came about, Marsh replied, “CHEM’s subsidiary, H2PowerTech, had developed a methanol fuel processor that delivered hydrogen and was seeking a robust fuel cell to integrate into its backup power product. Plug Power and H2PowerTech worked closely together to develop an integrated product that was ready to commercialise.”
“The product will be sold by CHEM in Asia, Africa, and India where reliable power is critical for a variety of communications and village power applications.”
The partnership with CHEM was Plug Power’s second announced partnership within a week. Just six days prior to the partnership announcement, Plug Power revealed a separate partnership with Lipari Foods.
The partnership with Lipari Foods saw Plug Power supply its GenDive fuel cells and GenFuel hydrogen fuelling station solutions to power Lipari Foods’s material handling vehicles – a slightly different technology than the ProGen hydrogen engines provided to CHEM.
“The GenDrive fuel cells replace batteries in material handling equipment – forklifts and such. They are designed to fit into the battery compartments of existing equipment, as well as being robust for indoor vehicle operations both in ambient and cold temperature facilities.”
“The ProGen unit being used with CHEM needed to fit inside a cabinet that will be located outdoors and operated year-round in all kinds of weather conditions.”
“The two products look very different, and have some different programming and components, but they are all based on the same underlying technology,” said Marsh commenting on the differences and similarities between the two technologies supplied through the two recent partnerships.
“It’s already been a busy year for us! We see continued traction in the material handling market and expect four major business announcements in 2019 in varied adjacent markets, affirming our confidence with 2019 forecasts.”
Plug Power’s successful start to 2019 has placed it in a great position within the hydrogen fuel cell market. The company has already undergone multiple positive developments including new partnerships, new innovations and successful financial results.
“Today, we have deployed over 25,000 GenDrive units; built 80 fuelling stations and have used over 16 tonnes of hydrogen in our own systems.”
“We have created one market in material handling, and plan to do that same in other segments, leveraging our years of real-world experience – which is often underrated.”
“We are working hard on a number of technology advancements and strategic partnerships that will help Plug Power expand into new markets. This year you’ll be hearing a lot from us – but for specifics, you’ll have to just waiting and see!”