Fuel Cells Support Ohio’s Future

Ohio’s first round of grant funds, which were issued in 2003 through the state’s Third Frontier Fuel Cell Program, have come to fruition in Westerville. Governor Bob Taft recently dedicated a utility-scale fuel cell power substation in the city, which is designed to feed power directly into a local distribution grid.

It should provide enough electricity to power more than 180 homes in the City of Westerville. The substation is a project that might not have been completed without the support of the Third Frontier (TFFCP) grant. Manufacturing components is as much of a financial challenge for the fuel cell industry as producing hydrogen is. Projects that are awarded funds through the Third Frontier grant program are usually efforts to develop better and more cost effective machine components. As the costs associated with production decrease the industry should start to find a market beyond demonstration vehicles or aerospace applications. “Today’s event signifies that our Third Frontier investments in the fuel cell industry are succeeding and directly benefiting Ohio citizens,” Taft said. Taft pledged to keep Ohio at the forefront of fuel cell technology. He announced awards of $3.5 million in TFFCP funds to five Ohio companies, which included: NexTech Materials, GrafTech International, The Edison Materials and Technology Center of Dayton, Velocys, and MetaMateria Partners. “Ohio has been on the leading edge of fuel cell technology for several years, and with today’s installation in Westerville, the Buckeye State has jumped ahead and established its leadership as an industry pioneer,” Taft said. Third Frontier Fuel Cell Program grants support the growth of Ohio’s fuel cell industry through collaborations that involve Ohio higher education institutions, non-profit research organizations and Ohio companies. The project is a ten-year, $1.1 billion initiative to expand high-tech research capabilities, promote innovation, encourage company formation and create high-paying jobs in the State of Ohio. It is the State’s largest-ever, technology-based economic development investment. More than $220 million has been awarded to Ohio-based companies, universities and research organizations to date.
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