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Plug to provide Stef with Green Hydrogen and Fuel Cells solutions for cold storage distribution centers

Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG), a leading provider of turnkey hydrogen solutions for the global green hydrogen economy, will supply Blue EnerFreeze, the energy subsidiary of STEF, the European market leader in the transportation and logistics of food products, with a complete green hydrogen ecosystem across two distribution centers, before potentially expanding further into their network of over 100 sites. One of the distribution centers is close to Paris, France and the other is close to Madrid, Spain.

Temperatures in STEF’s chilled and frozen food storage warehouses can plunge to negative 30 degrees Celsius, in worst cases. Under these conditions, lead acid battery-powered forklifts lose their charge quickly. Meanwhile, hydrogen fuel cells display superior performance in cold storage environments, offering higher asset utilization and increased levels of autonomy in demanding, typically multi-shift, mobility applications.

The transition from lead-acid batteries to Plug’s hydrogen fuel cells will potentially improve STEF’s forklift labor productivity due to maximum power over an entire shift. Battery-powered lift trucks lose approximately 14% of their speed over the last half of the battery charge. Unique to cold storage applications the switch to fuel cells allows operators to stay productive longer. This also means that lift truck operators can continue working in the cold storage facility for a full shift strengthening their comfort and avoiding changing of the batteries.

In parallel, fuel cell power solutions never require charging or changing. Battery changing currently requires 15 minutes per shift compared to two minutes for hydrogen refueling. Over a year, that 13 minutes saved per shift represents more than 234 hours of lost productivity per forklift truck in a three-shift operation.

Toyota will provide compatible fuel cell-ready forklift models, designed and manufactured for operator comfort, productivity and efficiency in mind, for this project as part of its commitment to developing fuel cell projects across Europe.

The Paris and Madrid cold/freezer storage sites will be converted to fuel cells and be operational in the first quarter of 2024. After the success of these two sites, STEF and Plug plan to expand the use of fuel cells in STEF's more than 100 distribution centers in Europe.

“Our partnership with STEF as a pedestal customer represents a significant expansion for Plug into Europe,” said Plug CEO Andy Marsh. “We are seeing tremendous interest in hydrogen solutions in Europe. This partnership, and others coming later this year, validate Plug’s strategy to expand in the European market.”

“Our expectations on these first two projects are high and aim at increasing STEF operators’ comfort and safety in a shift by avoiding battery change and improving intralogistics efficiency of our warehouses,” said Vincent Kirklar, STEF Executive Committee member leading Reals Estate and Energy activities. “In Madrid, the hydrogen will be produced on-site using power generated by our 2.9 MWp photovoltaic rooftop plant, enabling us to consume fully green and locally produced hydrogen! We're proud of these projects that combine our care for people and the planet!”

STEF, the European leader in the transportation and logistics of food products operating for more than 100 years, provides specialist solution services for our industry, retail and food service customers in 8 European countries.

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