COLUMBUS, Ohio, Aug. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Demand for new energy sources has never been more urgent. Recent civil unrest in the Mideast brings America's goal to reduce foreign energy dependence through alternative energy sources front and center. Fuel cells are one way to offer a more efficient method in converting readily available domestic fuels, such as natural gas, into electricity while cutting fuel consumption by 50-66 percent with heat and water as its only byproducts.
Fuel Cells 2000, an organization that promotes fuel cell technology, recently released a report placing Ohio in the top five states when it comes to fuel cell development. The report, "State of the States: Fuel Cells in America," touts Ohio's unique pro-business environment and innovative incentive programs to attract fuel cell companies to the state.
The 2011 Fuel Cells 2000 report provides comprehensive state-by-state coverage of policies, deployments, installations and funding occurring in the past year. The report singled out California, Connecticut, New York, Ohio and South Carolina as leaders in moving the industry forward in the U.S.
"Ohio is committed to capitalizing on its strength in fuel cells to create and attract 21st century businesses and jobs," said Pat Valente, executive director of the Ohio Fuel Cell Coalition, the largest state fuel cell association in the nation. "Ohio is not only home to world class companies in all phases of fuel cell development - from R&D to all aspects of the supply chain to final product manufacturing, Ohio also has the added advantage of cross-sector support from business, government and educational institutions to further innovation and commercialization opportunities."
Ohio is the ideal location in the U.S. to establish, grow or expand a fuel cell business. Having invested in 95 projects of over $88 million since 2002, which has been leveraged by more than $300 million of federal dollars, Ohio is internationally recognized as a global center in fuel cell research, development and deployment. The state's innovative mix of public and private support, strategic location and highly skilled workforce make Ohio the ideal location for fuel cell companies to jump start their business and call Ohio home.
According to Fuel Cells 2000, Ohio strongly stands out in the fuel cell sector as the preferred location for fuel cell development with "it's plethora of research and manufacturing and proactive business development policies."
In order to propel those businesses faster and forward, Ohio offers unique public-private support for fuel cell companies. The Ohio Third Frontier Fuel Cell Program offers low interest loans, tax credits and infrastructure improvement for fuel cell businesses. The program provides direct financial support of up to $1 million to accelerate the development and growth of the fuel cell industry in Ohio.
In addition, the Ohio Fuel Cell Coalition unites industry, academic and government leaders to promote and strengthen Ohio's fuel cell industry and advance innovative fuel cell technology research.
Ohio is home to leading fuel cell companies such as Rolls-Royce Fuel Cells Systems Inc., Crown Equipment, GrafTech International, NexTech Materials, Ltd., and many others.
Cleveland-based Technology Management Inc. (TMI) recently demonstrated a high level of maturity for their Anywhere Energy Fuel Cell system, passing significant milestones while running on JP-8 military logistic fuel.
"Fuel cells have the potential to spearhead a huge new clean energy industry for both Ohio and the nation," said Benson Lee, president and CEO, of TMI. "As TMI continues to reach critical milestones, and obtains the necessary funding and investments, we could be commercialized in military, residential and rural markets within three years."
Another advantage for fuel cell companies located in Ohio is that, once ready for market, components and finished goods quickly reach their destination anywhere in the U.S. or around the globe through the state's central location and extensive transportation and world-class logistics infrastructure. Ohio is within 600 miles of 60 percent of the U.S. and Canadian population and is within a one-day drive of 70 percent of North America's manufacturing capacity.
Ohio advanced energy companies maximize their productivity, quality and profits with the state's highly skilled green-collar workforce. A dedicated cluster of more than 60,000 specialized workers support Ohio's advanced energy industry, with a total workforce of 5.9 million, among the largest in the nation. A recent U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) study estimates a net increase of 361,000 to 675,000 jobs is possible by 2035 in fuel cells and hydrogen. Ohio's workforce is prepared to meet the steep rise in demand for skilled green-collar workers.
The advantages Ohio offers positions the state as an international leader in the fuel cell industry. Today's industry leaders have made Ohio a top choice to pursue their personal goals as well.
"Ohio's success is not solely dependent on the strength of its business advantages. It's about Ohio's promise for work-life balance," said Ed Burghard, executive director of the Ohio Business Development Coalition, the nonprofit organization that markets the state for capital investment. "Low-cost, low-stress communities and short commutes create the State of Perfect Balance, where you can achieve both professional and personal success without sacrificing one for the other."
About the Ohio Business Development Coalition
The Ohio Business Development Coalition is a nonprofit organization that provides marketing strategy and implementation to support Ohio's economic development efforts. For more information, visit www.ohiomeansbusiness.com.
SOURCE Ohio Business Development Coalition