Third Frontier supports fuel cell development in material handling
The Ohio Third Frontier program, the state’s
commitment to create new technology-based products, companies,
industries and jobs, has played a key role in an Ohio company’s
efforts to support fuel cell implementation in the material handling
industry and work with its customers to see if the technology
is a viable option in their operations.
Crown Equipment Corporation, a forklift manufacturer,
recently introduced a fuel cell-ready version of the Crown PC
4500, the industry’s first pallet truck designed specifically
for fuel cells in an effort to ensure there is no negative impact
on safety, efficiency and performance. According to Crown, support
from the state and the Ohio Third Frontier program was critical
in the research needed to ensure the truck met the same industry
standards as a truck running on a battery.
A fleet of the Crown PC 4500 with integrated
fuel cells is now being used in Walmart Canada’s new perishable
distribution center located outside of Calgary, Alberta. The
facility is the first complete distribution center in Canada
to be powered exclusively by hydrogen fuel cells.
In 2008, Crown received an Ohio Third Frontier
Fuel Cell Program grant valued at $977,000 to help with the first
phase of a project to study the technical and commercial barriers
to the application of fuel cells in its lift trucks. In 2009,
the company received a subsequent $1 million grant to begin researching
the integration of fuel cells into the manufacturing of its vehicles.
As of June 2010, Ohio Third Frontier has
awarded $180 million to Ohio’s advanced energy sector alone.
Through these advanced energy investments, Ohio Third Frontier
has fostered the emergence of new technology clusters that include
fuel cells and photovoltaics.