WASHINGTON — Thirty-eight nationally recognized companies, including several food retailers, are collectively saving millions of dollars in electricity costs while reducing carbon emissions by tens of thousands of tons per year by using fuel cells, according to a new report by Fuel Cells 2000, a non-profit education and outreach organization.
“The Business Case for Fuel Cells: Why Top Companies Are Purchasing Fuel Cells Today” describes how companies such as Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, Central Grocers, H.E. Butt Grocery (H-E-B), Price Chopper, Safeway, Wegmans and Star Market are implementing fuel cells at multiple retail or warehouse sites.
For example, according to the report:
• Central Grocers has purchased 220 fuel cell-powered pallet trucks, to replace batteries at its warehouse in Joliet, Illinois. “Hydrogen fuel cells run longer, don’t lose power as they operate and are refueled more quickly than batteries,” Jim Denges, chief executive officer, Central Grocers said in the report.
• H-E-B  has installed 14 fuel cell-powered reach trucks in San Antonio, Texas.
• Price Chopper  has installed a 400-kW stationary fuel cell at a store in Colonie, New York. The unit provides power even when the grid fails, and is reducing energy costs by 27%.
• Safeway  has installed two stationary fuel cells at a store in Santa Cruz, Calif.
• Star Market has installed a stationary fuel cell at a store in Chestnut Hill, Mass., that captures waste heat to run through an absorption chiller and to provide the store’s air conditioning. The fuel cell has reduced carbon emissions by approximately 5 million pounds per year.
• Wegmans  has installed 50 pallet trucks and nine standup forklifts powered by fuel cells at its Pottsville, Pa., warehouse. "When we really looked at the math, and the finances involved, it worked out - even though the initial sticker didn't," said David DeMascole, retail service center general manager, Wegmans, in the report.
• Whole Foods Markets  have installed stationary fuel cells at two stores, one in Glastonbury, Conn., and another in Dedham, Mass., and have plans to install a third in a store in San Jose, Calif. The company has installed fuel cell-powered forklifts at a warehouse in Landover, Md.