Rolls-Royce Expands Fuel Cell Development in Stark County Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell systems announced on Monday, September 21, 2009, that it will expand its fuel cell research in Jackson Township. Charles Coltman, chairman of Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems, said, “By the end of the year, Jackson Township is going to be the primary center for Rolls-Royce Fuel Cell Systems. The global headquarters will be here.” The news was announced at Stark State College of Technology, where Rolls-Royce established its North American fuel cell headquarters in 2006. On hand for the announcement were Governor Ted Strickland and US. Reps John Boccieri and Betty Sutton. The company said it will invest $3 million in processing and testing equipment, consolidating its research and development activities at the Fuel Cell Prototyping Center. The State of Ohio has targeted fuel cells for development because Ohio has the technological expertise and work force to build them — everything from the fuel cell itself to pumps and compressors and accompanying electronics in a complete fuel cell. Through the Third Frontier Program, Ohio has awarded grants to Rolls-Royce and Stark State for fuel cell development and training respectively. To read more about this announcement, click on this Stark State College press release or click on this Cleveland Plain Dealer article.

SRI International Issues Ohio Third Frontier Impact Study – SRI International issued its report on Ohio’s Third Frontier Program entitled “Making an Impact: Assessing the Benefits of Ohio’s Investment in Technology Based Economic Development Programs.” The study found that State expenditures related to the Third Frontier of $681 million had generated $6.6 billion in economic activity, 41,300 total jobs, and $2.4 billion in employee wages and benefits. According to the impact study, Ohio has generated nearly a $10 return on every dollar of the State’s investment in the period from 2003-2008, with the expectation of increased impact in the years to come. The Ohio Third Frontier is slightly more than three-quarters through its first ten years. The Ohio Department of Development engaged SRI International and its partner, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, to conduct the impact study. SRI International reported that the Ohio Third Frontier had improved research and development collaboration and assisted in the recruitment of non-Ohio companies. To learn about further impacts and recommended improvements in the program, click on Third to access the impact study.

Mount Union to Have State’s Largest Thin Film Solar System –Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, a 163 year–old–institution of higher learning, will become the home of the largest application in Ohio of thin film laminate solar voltaic array. A total of 230 feet of the Peterson Fieldhouse roof will be covered by the solar panels which are manufactured by Uni-Solar in Detroit. Each panel measures 18 feet long by 15.5 inches wide. A panel is less than an 1/8" thick and is fastened to the metal roof with adhesive. Each of the panels will produce 136 watts and overall, the array will make up a 54–kilowatt system and will produce enough energy to power seven average-sized houses for one year. Advantages of the thin film laminate compared to traditional solar panels include less weight and ease of installation. The project is part of the $17.5 million renovation to the McPherson Academic and Athletic Complex. It was made possible through an anonymous investor and various grants. The Ohio Department of Development, through stimulus funds, provided a $200,000 grant for the solar array. To learn more about the thin film solar system and about Mount Union College, click here.

Akron, Canton Among Most Affordable “Move-Up” Housing Markets in U.S. A real estate firm’s study shows Akron and Canton are two of the most affordable housing markets nationwide for what is thought of as “move-up” property. Coldwell Banker based its survey on prices for a 2,200 sq.ft. house with four bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths, and an attached garage. Grayling, Michigan, was ranked first in the report covering more than 300 markets with an average home costing about $112,000. Akron was second with an average cost of $121,885 and Canton was fourth with an average cost of $131,867. On the high end of the spectrum was LaJolla, California, where a similar house costs more than $2.1 million. A move-up house is bought by someone who wants a larger place to live because of lifestyle changes, such as a new job or having children. To read more, click on this Akron Beacon Journal article.

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