On the Hydrogen Highway

Crown Awarded Approximately $1 Million State Grant to Conduct Fuel Cell Research

Crown Equipment Corporation, as a leading global manufacturer of lift trucks, is committed to advancing hydrogen fuel cell technology. The company was recently awarded nearly $1 million in grant money from the State of Ohio to conduct fuel cell research.

The project is important to the technological advancement of our products, which in turn is important for our customers and to the long-term future of Crown, said Crown President Jim Dicke III. We are pleased with the State of Ohio and its overall efforts in working with Crown to maintain a strong manufacturing base here. Crown also appreciates being recognised as a leader in the progression of fuel cell technology.

The development of fuel cells is a natural extension of Crowns ongoing focus on environmental sustainability. As a technology leader in the lift truck industry, Crown is committed to supporting its customers via the emerging hydrogen economy. This project expands Crowns focus to actively participate in, and support the development of, environmentally friendly alternative fuels that provide power savings for its customers.

The Crown project will focus on addressing the technical and commercial barriers to the application of available battery replacement fuel cell power packs in industrial lift trucks. The study will facilitate the creation and growth of material handling equipment used in warehouses and distribution centres to be powered by fuel cells.

There are several considerations to evaluate before a wide range of lift trucks are offered with a fuel cell as its power source, said Dicke. In the current design, the battery provides a counterweight to the load. Fuel cells are much lighter. We need to explore solutions, and make sure all systems are compatible to ensure the critical performance characteristics of a lift truck.

Crown intends to review the performance of each unique combination of its lift trucks with fuel cell power. This study should reveal any necessary modifications required to maintain the intended use of the lift truck while complying with industry standards.

Alternative power is a hot topic, and the material handling industry is poised to be an early adopter of this new technology, setting the standard for other industries to follow. Fuel cell technology will likely simplify and speed up the way lift trucks are powered and batteries recharged. The State of Ohio is a leader in exploring and developing technologies that advance the Hydrogen Highway.

The grant is provided by the Ohio Department of Development and Ohio's Third Frontier Commission.

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