Meagan Nichols Staff Reporter for the Memphis Business Journal published astory Monday afternoon detailing Nike's (NYSE:NKE) permit related to hydrogen refueling infrastructure. According to Nichols the December 11th building permit listed Nike Inc. as its owner requested "installation of new hydrogen refueling infrastructure foundation" for greater than $409,000 at Nike's 2.8m square foot distribution center that opened in Memphis in June 2015.
Nichols reached out to Nike's media team, but has yet to receive an update. Although Nichols is still awaiting information from Nike's media team I can report that a resource close to me received confirmation months ago from a Nike employee that the company performed a demo with forklifts powered by Plug Power's (NASDAQ:PLUG) fuel cells at its Memphis location during the spring of 2015.
Feedback received regarding the project was that "the test went very well with zero issues with the equipment or the employees using it." Although, the demo was very successful the deployment of hydrogen infrastructure and fuel cell powered forklifts could not completed prior to the grand opening of Nike's Memphis DC in June.
Nike's Memphis distribution center is the company's largest in the world measuring 2.8m square feet. The facility is also equipped with 33 miles of conveyer belt, 73 outbound doors and 96 receiving spurs. The facility will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
There has been some anxiety amongst Plug Power investors that Nike could be lost as a potential customer since we have not heard any update since the company announced an MSA with a "large footwear manufacturer in North America" on May 27th.
Plug's PR refers to the completion of a successful demonstration at one of its distribution centers. As I mentioned earlier in the article a source close to me confirmed that Nike successfully demoed forklifts powered by Plug Power fuel cells in the spring of 2015 at the Memphis distribution center.
Plug's May 27th press release indicates that the large footwear manufacturer has 30 distribution sites globally and according to Nike's 10-Q the company has 45 distribution centers globally that are either owned or leased. The difference between the 30 locations listed on Plug's press release and the 45 listed in Nike's 10-Q is likely related to 15 leased DC's.