Clean energy innovations and Ohio's international leadership in the fuel cell industry will unite global leaders at the annual Ohio Fuel Cell Symposium at the University of Akron Tuesday and Wednesday. According to the Ohio Business Development Coalition, the nonprofit organization that markets the state for capital investment, the symposium highlights how Ohio's nurturing business environment and collaboration among industry insiders offers companies and executives the opportunity to realize their highest goals and ambitions.
"Ohio's collaborative environment among industry, academic, and government leaders has created an unparalleled Fuel Cell Corridor that is leading to global fuel cell applications providing clean power for Ohioans and citizens of the world," said Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher, who also serves as Director of the Ohio Department of Development. "At the Ohio Fuel Cell Symposium, there is a great deal of excitement about not just the existing uses of Ohio-produced fuel cells such as providing vehicular power, but also their future role in augmenting public energy resources."
Prominent business and government leaders including Gov. Ted Strickland and Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted have joined together to share the excitement of Ohio fuel cell industry powered products in use now and on the horizon. Fresh on the heels of the passage of Ohio's Energy Bill, the Symposium also provides an opportunity for fuel cell industry leaders to discuss the critical role of alternative energy resources for Ohio's future.
This month, Ohio Gov. Strickland signed into law a landmark energy reform bill that will require at least 25 percent of the electricity sold in Ohio to be generated from advanced energy technology by 2025 -- with a minimum of 12.5 percent from renewable energy resources. At the same time, Ohio government leaders have agreed to pursue a jobs and economic development stimulus package that will provide $150 million in advanced energy supply chain funding to further stimulate industry development.
"Ohio is one of the few places in the world where all phases of fuel cell development take place," said Ken Alfred, executive director of the Ohio Fuel Cell Coalition. "Ohio not only hosts all phases of fuel cell development, from research and development to component and material supply to final product manufacturing, but also has the added advantage of cross-sector support from business, government and educational institutions to further innovation and commercialization opportunities."
The state has further committed to supporting the industry with the Ohio Fuel Cell Initiative, a multi-million-dollar program that aims to spur job creation in Ohio while positioning the state as a national leader in the growing fuel cell industry. The initiative is an integral part of the Third Frontier Program, a $1.6 billion high-tech jobs development program designed to help catalyze connections between companies and academia to support job growth and wealth creation. Over $75 million in state grants have been invested in fuel cell R&D and manufacturing process improvements, demonstrations and commercialization projects since 2003 with a continuing state commitment to additional funding support.
"Once known for its abundance of blue collar workers, Ohio is now transforming its economy to meet the advanced energy needs of the 21st century. Combined with new programs to educate and train a new generation of green collar workers, Ohio's depth in advanced design, advanced materials and advanced manufacturing combine to create the perfect combination of skill sets and capabilities to make the state a global leader in this rapidly growing industry," said Ed Burghard, executive director of the Ohio Business Development Coalition. "Business owners profit from the bottom-line benefits of better work:life balance for their employees. Ohio's low-cost, low stress communities and combination of micropolitan and metropolitan cities provides executives and employees the resources and time to make any ambition achievable. Ohio truly is the state of perfect balance."