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Plug Power works to make power switch simpler

By Bethany Bump
Thursday, January 16, 2014

Plug Power is making it easier than ever for customers to switch from battery to hydrogen fuel cell power.

The Latham-based fuel cell maker announced today its first turnkey hydrogen solution for the material-handling industry, like distribution warehouses that use forklift trucks. Dubbed "GenKey," the new Plug Power offering will set customers up with its fuel cell units, hydrogen fuel and infrastructure, and maintenance service. The idea is to ensure "seamless transition" from lead-acid batteries to hydrogen fuel cell-based power, according to a company news release issued today.

"GenKey allows us to increase our value-add for customers through building a comprehensive turnkey solution that streamlines the transition to a hydrogen infrastructure," said Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh in the release. "We do all the hard work, so the customer can focus on the best use of its newfound productivity."

GenKey was designed to combat the perception that moving to a hydrogen infrastructure is a complex process that requires multiple vendors. The service will allow Plug Power to simply drop its fuel cells into existing battery compartments on all major material handling equipment. The company will also retrofit existing facilities to be suitable for a hydrogen fuel infrastructure or develop brand new facilities, and then provide operator training and a regular supply of hydrogen. In addition, the company will provide ongoing maintenance for both the fuel cells and the hydrogen infrastructure.

The new service will give Plug Power a recurring revenue stream as it emerges from a rough few years. The public company just regained compliance with Nasdaq's minimum bid price rule last month, 14 months after its common stock price dipped below $1 per share for 30 consecutive business days.

The company announced Wednesday that it had raised a net $28 million after completing an underwritten registered offering of 10 million shares of its common stock. The shares and accompanying warrants to purchase 4 million shares of common stock were sold together. The proceeds will be used for working capital and general corporate purposes, the company said.

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