Amazon company has made its first purchase of green hydrogen, with electrolyser and fuel-cell maker Plug Power to supply 10,950 tonnes annually from 1 January 2025.

Hydrogen: hype, hope and the hard truths around its role in the energy transition
Will hydrogen be the skeleton key to unlock a carbon-neutral world? Subscribe to Accelerate Hydrogen, powered by Recharge and Upstream, and get the market insight you need for this rapidly evolving global market.

The e-commerce giant has been using hydrogen-powered forklifts — fitted with Plug Power fuel cells — in its warehouses since 2016, but these machines have, to date, been powered by grey hydrogen made from unabated natural gas.

Roughly speaking, 8-12 tonnes of CO2 are emitted for every tonne of grey H2 produced, which is obviously not in line with Amazon’s stated aim of achieving “net-zero carbon” across its operations by 2040.

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

“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.”

The company’s vice-president of worldwide sustainability, Kara Hurst, added: “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.”

The hydrogen supplied by Plug Power — using its electrolysers, liquefaction capabilities and cryogenic tankers — will be enough to power 30,000 forklifts or 800 long-haul trucks each year.

Hydrogen-powered forklifts are popular in warehouses because they do not emit fumes, and do not require the long recharging times that battery-powered machines would, enabling them to be used around the clock.

Plug Power aims to produce 70 tonnes of green hydrogen per day (tpd) — 25,550 tonnes — by the end of this year, rising to 500 tpd in North America by 2025, and 1,000 tpd globally by 2028.

“By building a complete hydrogen ecosystem from molecule to applications combined with a resilient network of green hydrogen plants around the world — we have made hydrogen adoption easy,” said Plug CEO Andy Marsh. “Landing a green hydrogen supply deal with a customer like Amazon validates our multi-year investment and strategic expansion into green hydrogen.”

Plug Power shares immediately grew 13% upon news of the deal — rising from $27.52 to $31.17, before stabilising at around $30.