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Amazon Looks to Decarbonize Operations Via Green Hydrogen

Partnership with Plug Power will fuel initiative
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
Amazon warehouse
Plug Power will supply Amazon with 10,950 tons of green hydrogen per year beginning in 2025.

Through an agreement with sustainability-minded equipment manufacturing company Plug Power, Amazon will work toward decarbonizing its operations by replacing grey hydrogen, diesel and other fossil fuels with green hydrogen. The contract is poised to provide enough power annually for 30,000 forklifts or 800 heavy-duty trucks used in long-haul transportation.

Plug Power will supply 10,950 tons of green hydrogen per year for Amazon’s transportation and building operations beginning in 2025. Currently, 95% of the hydrogen supply is made from fossil fuels – a reality that Amazon wants to help change.

“Amazon is proud to be an early adopter of green hydrogen given its potential to decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors like long-haul trucking, steel manufacturing, aviation, and ocean shipping,” said Kara Hurst, VP of worldwide sustainability at Amazon. “We are relentless in our pursuit to meet our Climate Pledge commitment to be net-zero carbon across our operations by 2040, and believe that scaling the supply and demand for green hydrogen, such as through this agreement with Plug Power, will play a key role in helping us achieve our goals.”

[Read more: "Amazon’s Custom Electric Delivery Vehicles Hit the Road"]

While forklifts are an obvious use case for utilizing green hydrogen, many more ways to utilize it are under development. According to Amazon, hydrogen can also be used as a fuel similar to natural gas or diesel through a combustion process, and can be used in fuel cells to create electricity with no direct emissions of pollutants or greenhouse gasses at the point of use.

“We already have more than 70 fulfillment centers outfitted with hydrogen storage and dispensing systems, which will allow us to start using green hydrogen to replace fossil fuels,” said Dean Fullerton, VP of global engineering and security services at Amazon. “Today, we use that system to power over 15,000 fuel-cell propelled forklifts, with plans to grow that number to 20,000 across 100 fulfillment centers by 2025.”

“That’s just the start,” Fullerton continued. “Across Amazon’s operations, we’re exploring and testing the use of other hydrogen applications, such as fuel-cell electric trucks and fuel-cell power generation stations providing electricity to Amazon buildings.”

Amazon also recently announced an investment in two companies working to develop electrolyzer technology to increase green hydrogen production. The investment is part of the Climate Pledge Fund, Amazon’s $2 billion venture investment program that supports the development of sustainable technologies and services.

Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on The PG 100,  Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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