Ohio Fuel Cell Symposium Held in Stark County – The annual Ohio Fuel Cell Symposium took place on May 27-28, 2009 at the Kent State Stark Professional Education and Conference Center in North Canton, Ohio. Stark County is home to Ohio’s Fuel Cell Prototyping Center which is located on the campus of Stark State College of Technology. Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems has its North American headquarters and research and development housed in the Prototyping Center. The theme of this year’s symposium was “Integration and Application for Advanced Energy, Here and Now.” The morning session had speakers from First Energy and American Electric Power (AEP) which are two of Ohio’s major utilities. They talked about the electric grid and how stationary fuel cells (megawatt size) would be able to assist the electric grid with peak demand needs in the future. The next two speakers were from fuel cell companies, Ballard and Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems, which are testing fuel cells with First Energy and AEP respectively. The afternoon session was highlighted by an address from Ohio’s Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher. Since 2002, Ohio has set aside $100 million in Third Frontier and other grant money to create a fuel cell industry in the state. About $79 million has been awarded, with nearly $50 million having been spent. Six fuel cell companies have been attracted to the State of Ohio as a result. To read more about the symposium, click on this Cleveland Plain Dealer article.

Rolls-Royce Receives Funds for Fuel Cell Research – Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems located at Stark State College of Technology in North Canton, Ohio, will receive $1.54 million to assist in the development of fuel cells for commercial use. The funds will support Rolls-Royce’s effort to develop a stationary, megawatt fuel cell to help reduce the carbon footprint of our nation’s electric grid. U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown said about $3.25 million has been released by the U.S. Department of Energy to support clean energy research and development projects as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009. The University of Akron will receive $1.7 million for research and development of fuel cells that can convert coal into electricity. Senator Brown made this statement: “Ohio can become the Silicon Valley of clean energy manufacturing, with institutions in Akron and Canton leading the way in fuel cell development.” Click here for a PDF file of the Canton Repository article.

Akron-Canton Airport Ahead of 2008 in Number of Passengers – Through the first four months of 2009, the Akron-Canton Airport (CAK) has welcomed a total of 442,456 passengers, a 2.35% increase compared to the same four months in 2008. Low fares, convenient nonstop service, and a better customer experience are proving to be a powerful combination to attract passengers. April saw an increase of 8 percent in passengers over April of last year. The boost in passengers was driven by U.S. Airways Express and AirTran Airways. Strong boardings on U.S. Airway’s new nonstop service to Washington, DC contributed to the large increase. AirTran Airways was also up 17 percent from April 2008 with 57,018 total passengers for the month. Rick McQueen, president and CEO of CAK, had this to say: “It is a privilege to serve more passengers every year. In these uncertain economic times, customers are looking for low airfares, high quality carriers, and a relaxing airport experience. We are committed to offering it all.” To read more about the Akron-Canton Airport, click here.

Stark County Educational Community Congratulated – High school and college graduation rates are up significantly in Stark County. This year more than 1,500 high school students will graduate with a significant number of college credits earned through post-secondary enrollment options, career technical programs, advanced placement, and dual credit. Thirty-two students will graduate from Early College in the Canton City Schools with an Associate Degree from Stark State College of Technology, and 28 more will graduate with 21 to 59 earned credits. By several indicators, Stark County is well on its way to becoming the most educated county in Ohio. The more educated we are, the more attractive we are for economic development. To learn more about Stark County’s educational community, click here.

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