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Discounter ups the ante on hydrogen fuel cells for lift trucks


Walmart is stepping up efforts to drive energy efficiency across its distribution network.

The discount giant is adopting fuel cells and hydrogen stations from provider Power Plug — a move that will bolster its energy efficiency at up to 30 more locations. Walmart already has Plug Power fuel cells installed at 22 distribution centers, according to USA Today.

The fuel cells help replace lead-acid batteries and power devices — such as forklifts — to improve warehouse efficiency. The deal also gives Walmart financial benefits, as the discounter received warrants to acquire up to about 55.3 million shares of Plug Power stock. This includes 5.8 million warrants that were exercised as a result of the latest fuel cell purchasing deal, according to the report.

Walmart’s latest initiative mirrors a similar effort taken on by rival Amazon. In April, the online giant agreed to spend $70 million on Plug Power's vehicles, and also received rights to buy as many as 55.3 million shares in the company, a 19% stake, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Walmart’s initial price will be higher than the online retailer's since Plug Power's stock price has jumped 63% since announcing its Amazon deal. Walmart's potential stake is 17%, the Journal said.

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