NEW BREMEN, OHIO - Crown Equipment, a lift truck manufacturer, earned a $1 million grant to continue its industry-leading research, testing, and application of fuel cell technology in lift trucks. The State of Ohio, through its Third Frontier Fuel Cell Program, awarded the grant to continue Crown's investigation, modeling and testing of fuel cell-powered lift trucks.

The grant remains contingent upon State Controlling Board approval. Crown received its first grant from the Third Frontier program in March 2008, which the company used to study technical and commercial barriers to the application of fuel cells in lift trucks.

The integration of fuel cells into lift trucks has the potential to improve design flexibility, equipment performance, operator productivity, power levels and efficiency, according to Eric Jensen, Crown's manager of new technology research and development.

"Our ongoing fuel cell research will continue to evaluate the use of alternative energies in the material handling industry so that our customers can realize business benefits, such as cost savings and increased productivity," Jensen said. "We are grateful to receive this grant from the Third Frontier program, and proud that Crown continues to be recognized as a leader in the commercial application of fuel cell technology."

Evaluation and testing of fuel cell applications in Crown lift trucks is conducted at Crown's 25,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Fuel Cell Test Center in Huber Heights, Ohio. Crown works closely with the primary fuel cell manufacturers and currently has numerous pilot projects in progress with customers across multiple industries. For example, at the Defense Distribution Depot Warner Robins Georgia (DDWG) at Robins Air Force Base, 20 Crown sit-down counterbalanced lift trucks have been upgraded with hydrogen-powered fuel cell power packs.

Mark Barbash, interim director of the Ohio Department of Development and chair of the Ohio Third Frontier Commission, said in a news release, "This award demonstrates Ohio's continued commitment to fuel cell development and support for the growth of the industry in our state. The technological advances achieved in the fuel cell industry in Ohio are a testament to our innovative workforce, our welcoming business environment, and our efforts to remain at the forefront of the expanding renewable energy sector by attracting the companies that constitute a highly competitive supply chain."