Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG) shares inched up 4.64% on Thursday and went up another 1.27% in pre-market trading Friday. The fuel cell company announced in a blog post Thursday that it has moved a step closer to supplying fuel cell units to FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) and other airport ground support equipment (GSE) operators.
Plug Power demonstrates its new fuel cell beta unit
Plug Power has completed the demonstration of its new hydrogen fuel cell beta unit that would power airport GSEs including aircraft tuggers, baggage loaders and auxiliary power units. The fuel cell prototype was publicly demonstrated in a Charlatte cargo tractor pulling about 40,000 pound of weight. Plug Power made this successful demonstration in front of representatives from FedEx, Department of Energy and Charlatte America.
In fact, FedEx is actively working with Plug Power to drive innovation in the fuel cell technology. The Memphis-based company said after the demonstration that this technology is commercially viable for deployment. In the next phase, Plug Power will deliver 15 GSE fuel cells to the airport hub location of FedEx in Memphis in the fourth quarter of this year.
Will Plug Power’s expansion strategy help it become profitable?
Plug Power and FedEx first joined hands in January this year when the Latham, New York-based company announced that it will develop fuel cell range extenders to 20 FedEx Express delivery trucks. It would allow FedEx Express delivery trucks to almost double the travel distance in one charge from 80 miles to about 150 miles.
The latest demonstration is part of Plug Power’s expansion strategy. The company’s GenDrive fuel cells have proved their value to retailers such as Central Grocers and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT). The company is expanding its business into markets that require a similar kind of material handling. Plug Power has received $2.5 million grant for the Department of Energy to develop fuel cells for GSE operators. It will allow them to comply with strict emission standards.