To meet its goal to become a net-zero carbon emitter by 2040 – 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement, Amazon has partnered with Plug Power to supply 10,950 tons of green hydrogen per year for its operations in 2025.
The retail giant is the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy and plans to transition away from grey hydrogen, diesel, and other fossil fuels.
Green hydrogen is produced using wind or solar power, while grey hydrogen comes from fossil fuels such as natural gas.
Grey hydrogen doesn’t capture greenhouse gas emissions from its production, making it the least renewable type of hydrogen. Ninety-five percent of the current hydrogen supply comes from fossil fuels.
Amazon plans to use green hydrogen for “hard-to-abate sectors such as long-haul trucking, steel manufacturing, aviation, and ocean shipping,” said Kara Hurst, vice president of worldwide sustainability at Amazon.
In addition to decarbonizing Amazon’s building operations, the new partnership will supply enough green hydrogen to power 30,000 forklifts or 800 heavy-duty trucks used in long-haul transportation.
Amazon vice president of global engineering and security services, Dean Fullerton, said they already have 70 fulfillment centers equipped with hydrogen storage and dispensing systems. Currently, they power over 15,000 fuel-cell-propelled forklifts. Amazon expects this number to increase to 20,000 across 100 fulfillment centers by 2025. In addition, “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.”
In addition to this deal, Amazon invests in various technologies to help with its carbon-neutral goals.
The retailer’s $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund recently made two investments in developers of electrolyzers that help produce emissions-free green hydrogen using water and renewable electricity. U.S.-based Electric Hydrogen and German Sunfire are leading manufacturers of new-generation electrolyzers that can help decarbonize some of the heaviest emitters.
“Electrification and battery solutions alone cannot close the emissions gap to net-zero carbon,” noted Amazon on its website. “Hydrogen, when produced with renewable electricity, is a promising pathway for decarbonizing industries not as amenable to electrification, like aviation, steel production, heavy-duty trucking, and cargo shipping.”
But as stated earlier, most hydrogen is made from fossil fuels today. “Green hydrogen can be the missing piece to help decarbonize heavy industries and play a significant role in curbing the climate crisis.”
Plug Power is developing an end-to-end green hydrogen ecosystem to help global companies to decarbonize their operations.
The ecosystem includes production, storage, delivery, and energy generation. Plug has built over 50,000 fuel cell systems and over 165 fueling stations and is the largest buyer of liquid hydrogen. It builds a Gigafactory to make electrolyzers, fuel cells, and multiple green hydrogen production plants. The company expects to produce 500 tons of liquid green hydrogen daily by 2025.
“Securing this major green hydrogen supply deal with a customer like Amazon affirms our multi-year investment and strategic expansion into green hydrogen,” said Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug. “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.”