NEW BREMEN, OHIO - At a recent Ohio Fuel Cell Symposium, forklift manufacturer Crown Equipment Corporation demonstrated how emerging fuel-cell technology can be used to power industrial vehicles, including Crown lift trucks. On display at the symposium was a fuel cell-powered Crown FC 4500 Series counterbalanced forklift used by a Parma, Ohio-based manufacturer.

"Fuel cell technology has the potential to reduce costs and increase productivity for our customers," said Eric Jensen, Crown's manager of new technology research and development. "One of the biggest advantages is in the area of refueling. It typically takes two to three minutes to refill a fuel cell, compared to at least 30 minutes to change out a lead-acid battery."

Crown's attendance at the symposium reflects its broader commitment to exploring and implementing alternative fuel sources for its forklifts. In April the company received its second grant from the State of Ohio's Third Frontier Fuel Cell Program. Crown is using the $1 million grant to fund further testing of fuel cell-powered forklifts at its research center in Huber Heights, Ohio.

The 2009 Ohio Fuel Cell Symposium was held at the University Center at Kent State Park on May 27 and 28. The event, sponsored by the Ohio Fuel Cell Coalition, featured discussion panels on topics such as fuel cell commercialization, state and federal grant availability and the integration of fuel cells into the nation's energy grid. Ohio Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher and representatives from the Ohio Department of Development and the U.S. Department of Energy were among the symposium's speakers.

"It was amazing to see how far the coalition and the symposium have come in the past few years," said Jensen. "The efforts of coalition members such as Crown have taken this technology from theoretical scientific research to successful industrial application, and have made Ohio a real leader in fuel cell development."