Amazon adopts green hydrogen to decarbonize its operations

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Amazon adopts green hydrogen to decarbonize its operations

Amazon has signed an agreement with Plug Power to supply 10,950 tons per year of green hydrogen for its transportation and building operations, starting in 2025.

The company will start to use green hydrogen to replace grey hydrogen, diesel and other fossil fuels as it works to decarbonize its operations. This green hydrogen supply contract is expected to provide enough annual power for 30,000 forklifts or 800 heavy-duty trucks used in long-haul transportation.

Over 95% of Amazon’s supply is currently made from fossil fuels. To work on this, large purchase agreements like this one are intended to foster the growth of green hydrogen, which is produced through a zero-carbon pathway using water and renewable electricity.

As hydrogen can be used as a fuel like natural gas or diesel through a combustion process, the company intends to expand the number of use cases for scaled hydrogen. For example, Amazon has highlighted that it also be used in fuel cells, where hydrogen and oxygen mix in a reaction that creates electricity with no direct emissions of pollutants or greenhouse gases at the point of use. However, to power Amazon’s operations and meet its net zero commitment, more hydrogen-powered equipment will need to be made commercially available. In addition to the supply contract with Plug Power, Amazon has invested in two companies developing electrolyzer technology to increase green hydrogen production. The investment is part of the Climate Pledge Fund, Amazon’s US$2bn venture investment program that supports the development of sustainable technologies and services.

Kara Hurst, vice president of worldwide sustainability at Amazon, said, “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. 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.”

Dean Fullerton, vice president of global engineering and security services at Amazon, said, “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. 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. 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.”

Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug Power, said, “Plug is fully committed to a green hydrogen future, and we are building a complete hydrogen ecosystem – from molecule to applications – combined with a resilient network of green hydrogen plants around the world – to make hydrogen adoption easy for companies looking to reach net zero carbon emissions. Securing this major green hydrogen supply deal with a customer like Amazon affirms our multi-year investment and strategic expansion into green hydrogen. We are honored to help Amazon meet its ambitious sustainability goals and look forward to possibly expanding our relationship through the use of other hydrogen applications, such as fuel cell-electric trucks and fuel cell power generation stations that could provide electricity to Amazon buildings, and the deployment of electrolyzers in fulfillment centers.”

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