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Sysco Warehouse Opens with Fuel Cell Forklifts, Palette Trucks

In May 2010, I wondered aloud whether or not fuel cell forklifts and palette trucks used in large warehouse settings, would in fact be the first commercial production hydrogen vehicles on the market.

Now, there is more evidence that this is so. In Houston, Texas Sysco Inc. opened their new 585,000-square-foot food distribution facility. They will be using numerous Plug Power Inc. Gendrive fuel cell forklifts and palette trucks.

According to the Plug Power press release, “…Sysco has deployed 98 GenDrive™ fuel cell units to power a fleet of The Raymond Corporation’s electric lift trucks at its new Houston, Texas distribution center. GenDrive product is placed into 72 Raymond Model 8400 pallet trucks and 26 Raymond Model 7400 Reach-Fork® trucks.”

And according to my interaction with Plug Power Marketing Communications Manager, Teal Vivacqua, “All the products being used at Sysco’s facility are commercial vehicles. The fuel cell powered material handling vehicles will be used as the sole lift truck fleet at its new distribution facility.”

Air Products will be supplying two indoor H2 refueling stations, strategically placed, that can fuel up a forklift or palette truck in about 2 minutes. The life of the fuel cells is expected to be up to 10 years.

No longer will Sysco, at least in this warehouse, be responsible for charging, changing and disposing of the toxic lead acid batteries found in similar vehicles in other facilities.

About Hydro Kevin Kantola

Hydro Kevin Kantola
I'm a hydrogen car blogger, editor and publisher interested in documenting the history and the progression of hydrogen cars, vehicles and infrastructure worldwide.

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  1. admin

    Here’s some more confirmation of these fuel cell forklifts and palette jacks being full production fuel cell vehicles from an email I received:

    These are full production fuel cells from PLUG Power, being used in our forklifts, triple pallet jacks and single pallet jacks.

    Gary M. Mills
    Vice President, Warehouse & Delivery
    Sysco Corporate

  2. been certified in the Forklift for the last eight years pallet jacks also electric and manual too! Been trained and brief in safety of the forklift .Been a warehouse supervisor for three years in 2002 for Ford Motor Parts Denver over 24 employees .

  3. Sir,

    I am Rev. Jim of Union Resources Limited. Our company consults for both states and government agencies; so, it was based on the above-mentioned that our company – Union Resources Limited with website was contacted by government agency to source for a reliable and competent firm to supply wharehouse forkliftst/Sewing and Embroidery Warehouse machines to Ministry of Industries. Kindly, send your models and prices then let us know if your company can handle the above-mentioned project.

    Thank you,
    Rev. Jim Nwosu.


  4. Kevin,

    I would not be surprised to see Sysco and other companies including FedEx, and Coke Bottling / distribution centers to buy a few of Vision’s hydrogen electric trucks.

    These companies already have the Air Products refueling centers configured at the central warehouse locations (for the lift trucks), so the obstacle of refueling infrastructure is eliminated.

    Throw in the tax incentives and the per mile cost savings compared to diesel, and the decision to buy the Vision trucks is a “no brainer”.


  5. admin

    I think that’s a fine idea. It sounds like the logical next step especially for those trucks that stay within the local area.

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