Plug Power and Air Liquide Announce Joint Venture in European Market
10 Nov 2011
Air Liquide and Plug Power will join forces to develop the European market for fuel cell powered forklifts, it has been announced by both companies. The intention is to create a joint venture based in France, between Plug Power and Axane, a subsidiary of Air Liquide. Plug Power’s GenDrive® fuel cell technology will be used to develop, manufacture and market a range of fuel cells for use in forklift trucks in Europe. The forklifts will be deployed with associated hydrogen infrastructure supplied by Air Liquide – a complete ‘clean energy package’.
Ownership of the proposed joint venture will be shared, with Plug Power’s initial stake being 45%. It will have the opportunity to acquire a majority stake in 2016. Plug Power will license certain intellectual property to Axane, which will make instalment payments over the five-year period. Initially, the GenDrive® units would be manufactured at Plug Power’s Latham, NY headquarters and distributed through the sales and service channel provided by Axane, with the potential for European-based manufacturing at a later date.
The companies anticipate sales of around 10,000 units by 2015. 325,000 fork lift trucks are sold in the European market annually, so there is considerable market potential here. Plug Power and Air Liquide are already working together on deployments for Walmart, Canada, and Coca-Cola in the USA. Over 2,300 forklift trucks in North America will be running on hydrogen by the end of 2011.
This follows a previous announcement from Plug Power, of its first entry into the European market with 10 GenDrive® units ordered by an unnamed French customer in April.
Image: Plug Power/Air Liquide
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