July 2007 News

07.11.2007
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Lift Trucks Demonstration Project – Implementation in South Carolina
(full article)

07.09.2007
LiftOne, Linde and Hydrogenics Deploy Fuel Cell Forklift Technology to South Carolina Companies
(full article)

07.08.2007
Hydrogen economy gaining ground
(full article)

07.02.2007
South Carolina hydrogen initiatives receive critical funding through legislative action
(full article)


July11, 2007
(view original article)

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Lift Trucks Demonstration Project – Implementation in South Carolina

On Monday, July 9, LiftOne and Engineered Solutions, divisions of Carolina Tractor and Equipment, unveiled two hydrogen powered fuel cell lift trucks at their facility in Columbia, SC. The lift trucks have been equipped with HyPX Fuel Cell Power Packs, manufactured by Hydrogenics of Toronto, Canada, and installed by LiftOne in electric lift trucks manufactured by Linde Materials Handling of Summerville, SC. Both units will commence a demonstration deployment this week at Michelin’s Columbia plant, the first of six two-week evaluations that will take place between now and December at various warehouse facilities in the greater Columbia area and beyond. Follow-on deployment sites will include Leigh Fibers (Spartanburg), ISOLA Laminates (Ridgeway), and PBR (West Columbia).

The Hydrogenics-LiftOne project is the most ambitious initiative to date funded under the sponsorship of the Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge. The Challenge is a collaborative effort between the City of Columbia, the University of South Carolina, EngenuitySC and SCRA, whose collective mission is to accelerate the deployment and adoption of a wide array of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies within the Midlands region of South Carolina. Launched in the summer of 2006, the Challenge has awarded 10 projects to date. SC Launch! has provided more than $200,000 in total funding support across seven of these 10 projects.

Numerous government and industry studies have identified the material handling industry as an ideal candidate for introducing fuel cell technologies as a near-term market opportunity. Applications that target indoor, multiple shifts-per-day operations of 50 or more lift trucks offer the customer the option of replacing multiple lead acid batteries, battery chargers, battery watering equipment and battery storage facilities with fuel cell power packs and hydrogen fueling infrastructure. LiftOne estimates its customers who fit this profile could save between 15% and 20% by shifting from battery technology to fuel cell technology, and hopes the demonstration project deployments will provide data to validate these estimates. The value proposition is achieved through increased worker productivity (less down time attributable to battery change-out and charging operations) and greater utilization of existing warehouse space (no requirement for dedicated battery charging rooms).

In addition to being zero-emission, a fuel cell power solution also provides continuous full power for the entire duration of a shift (as opposed to battery-powered trucks, which experience speed and performance droop near the end of a battery charge-discharge cycle). As the price point of this initial niche market improves, other segments of the material handling market can be penetrated, including the larger outdoor market where the existing technology solutions rely on petroleum-fueled vehicles.

For perspective, within the state of South Carolina alone the class 1 lift truck market is 6670 units. There are another 12,000 electric drive units of different configurations that could be future candidates for fuel cell technology. Even if only 10% of the total South Carolina class 1 lift truck market were converted to fuel cell technology this would represent a $26.6 million market share.

In April of 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) released a Request for Information in which it solicited ideas for how the department could accelerate early hydrogen and fuel cell markets. One of the initiatives under consideration is a “buy down” program that would provide financial assistance to early adopters of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in selected markets. DoE officials believe that a combination of increased sales volume, federal/state tax credits and selective equipment buy-down funding could make the fuel cell fork lift market economically cost competitive in the near term. DoE expects to issue its funding opportunity announcement in the fall of 2007. By this time most of the South Carolina-based participants in the Hydrogenics-LiftOne project will have had first-hand experience with this technology and, depending on the specific markets targeted by DoE, could be well-positioned to become national leaders in capitalizing on the benefits of this emerging market segment.

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July 9, 2007
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LiftOne, Linde and Hydrogenics Deploy Fuel Cell Forklift Technology to South Carolina Companies

LiftOne and Engineered Solutions, divisions of Carolina Tractor, today unveiled two hydrogen-powered fuel cell lift trucks at their facility in Columbia, SC. The lift trucks have been equipped with HyPX Fuel Cell Power Packs manufactured by Hydrogenics of Toronto, Canada and installed by LiftOne in electric lift trucks manufactured by Linde Materials Handling of Summerville, SC. Both units will commence their deployment this week at Michelin's Columbia plant, the first of six two- week evaluations at facilities in the greater Columbia area.

Michelin is the first customer to accept the new units to evaluate their performance and their capabilities. "The promise of hydrogen-powered equipment has long been a dream of many of our customers looking to find more environmentally-friendly ways of doing business," said LiftOne General Manager, Bill Ryan. "Here today that promise has become more of a reality."

Hydrogenics has been in the business of developing and commercializing hydrogen and fuel cell technologies since 1995 and is a world leader in this emerging clean energy industry. The company's fuel cell commercialization efforts are focused on two key early adopting markets -- material handling and back-up power for data centers and telecom. Hydrogenics and LiftOne signed a distribution agreement in January of this year, making possible these programmed trials by multiple end-users; the first of its kind nationally.

"This demonstration project shows how successful collaborations within South Carolina continue to grow our state's knowledge economy," said Bill Mahoney, SCRA CEO and SC Launch acting president. "The joint efforts of the USC Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative, SC Launch!, Hydrogenics, and Lift One are delivering economic opportunities to the Midlands and to the entire state through greater awareness of the operational and financial advantages of alternative energy applications."

The stimulus for this hydrogen fuel cell project came about with the funding and the sponsorship of the Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge. The Challenge is a collaborative effort between the City of Columbia, the University of South Carolina, EngenuitySC and the South Carolina Research Authority, whose collective mission is to accelerate the deployment and adoption of a wide array of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies within the Midlands region of South Carolina.

"This is yet another market-ready application for Fuel Cell technology in the Midlands," said Neil McLean, Executive Director of EngenuitySC. "We are taking a major step forward in our vision for making Columbia a region that provides Fuel Cell companies a competitive edge for building their business."

Launched in the summer of 2006 with an initial request of proposals, the Challenge has awarded ten projects to date. The Hydrogenics-LiftOne project is the most ambitious initiative among those already funded. Hydrogenics and LiftOne responded to the Challenge and by working together with the Columbia- based agencies and also bringing Linde into the fold, created an 'all South Carolina' effort that has succeeded in placing Columbia on the fuel cell technology map.

"Fuel cells offer clean, high-performance power to these customers," said Troy Garrison, the Manager of this project for LiftOne, the first distributor to do so in the country. "There are also other real and compelling cost- effective reasons for looking at this technology, too."

In addition to being zero emission, a fuel cell power solution also provides continuous full power for the full duration of a shift, while eliminating the need to dedicate the space and other resources for replacement batteries, charging stations and battery changing equipment. "Longer run times and the elimination of battery changes all translate into higher productivity at lower costs," said Garrison.

Extensive discussion and proposed legislation within the State has been undertaken to encourage the commercial use of alternative fuel and energy sources.

"The amount of interest we have had in this project from so many of our South Carolina customers has been huge," Ryan commented. "We have had several serious inquiries as to when we will be launching our Fuel Cell and Training Center. We hope to have that center established here this fall."

After the first deployment at Michelin, the other clients who have asked to be involved in this evaluation are PBR, ISOLA Laminates, and Leigh Fibers amongst others. The fuel cell lift truck deployments are expected to rollout and continue throughout the fall.

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July 8, 2007
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Hydrogen economy gaining ground

The hydrogen economy seems to be picking up pace in South Carolina.

Companies that want to take advantage of a new hydrogen infrastructure fund have until the end of the month to seek the first round of funding.

The S.C. Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance and the S.C. Research Authority have wasted no time in seeking projects for the S.C. Hydrogen Infrastructure Development Act.

The act to establish a $15 million fund to promote the development of a hydrogen economy was passed by the Legislature in the just-ended session. Gov. Mark Sanford vetoed the legislation and that veto was overridden.

The legislation was supposed to authorize funding through the state budget of up to $15 million over three years — $7 million in the first year, $5 million in the second and $3 million in the third.

But when House and Senate budget writers couldn't agree on the funding, $5 million for the first year was authorized through the new Contingency Reserve Fund. Sanford also vetoed that legislation, but it was overridden as well.

While funding for the Hydrogen Infrastructure Development Act was not included in the state budget, legislators did include other critical funds.

Through the University of South Carolina budget, EngenuitySC will get $100,000 to help with preparations for the National Hydrogen Association meeting to be held in Columbia in the spring of 2009.

That expenditure also was vetoed by the governor and overridden by the Legislature.

A National Hydrogen Association forum, "Hydrogen Uses in the Military," will be held in Columbia this October.

USC also got $1 million for continued funding for hydrogen and fuel research.

The S.C. Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance got $367,640 in recurring funding that was originally proposed by the governor.

The Hydrogen Infrastructure Development Act is a recognition by the Legislature that nurturing a hydrogen and fuel cell cluster in South Carolina can have tremendous economic impact.

“The global demand for hydrogen technology is projected to be more than $2.6 trillion in 2021 and the United States market is expected to exceed $1 trillion and 1 million jobs before 2020,” the act says, “while the economic potential for South Carolina and surrounding communities is estimated to be 40,000 jobs and a $10 billion capital investment in the state.”

A solicitation for “white papers from interested persons or organizations for qualifying activities that would advance the commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies” in South Carolina was posted Thursday on the state alliance’s Web site. For the complete solicitation go to www.schydrogen.org.

White papers received by July will be evaluated with proposals due by Sept. 7. The initial round of awards is expected to be made by October. A second round of awards for white papers and proposals submitted after Sept. 7 but before Oct. 26 is expected to be made in early December.

The S.C. Research Authority is responsible for managing and distributing the funds. The authority is also part of the Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge.

One of the challenge’s biggest demonstration projects gets under way this week. Two hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered fork lifts will start being used at six warehouses around Columbia.

The trucks have been supplied by LiftOne, a division of Carolina CAT, and fitted with fuel cells supplied by Hydrogenics, an Ontario, Canada-based company.

The trucks will be operated by the host warehouse’s personnel for two weeks, then moved to the next company. The first deployment will be at Michelin North America in Lexington.

The multibillion-dollar annual fork lift market is expected to be an early adopter of fuel cell technology. By some estimates more than 300,000 new battery-powered material handling vehicles are purchased globally every year.

The fuel cell challenge is a project of the USC Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative.

Columbia City Council approved $75,000 in funding for the collaborative at the council’s most recent meeting. Council had previously funded another $75,000. The vote was unanimous.

The collaborative is a partnership among USC, the S.C. Research Authority, EngenuitySC and the city.

“The city is committed to the Fuel Cell Collaborative and the Fuel Cell District,” said Mayor Bob Coble. “The fueling station and the hydrogen bus are the next major steps. We are doing all of this to create jobs and raise our per capita income.”

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July 2, 2007
(view original press release)

South Carolina hydrogen initiatives receive critical funding through legislative action

Columbia, S.C. - South Carolina has taken another step toward securing the future well being of our economy, our energy supplies and a healthy environment for our families by enacting the Hydrogen Infrastructure Development Act (S. 243). The Act provides up to $15 million over the next three years by creating the Hydrogen Infrastructure Development Fund in the State Treasury. 

Five million dollars have been allocated to the fund for the first year and will be leveraged with other government and private industry funds to advance the commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, to encourage the development of partnerships between state groups and others outside the state and to promote hydrogen and fuel cell development and usage.

"Our leaders at the capitol are finding ways to invest in our future with the passage of the Hydrogen Infrastructure Development Act," said Shannon Baxter-Clemmons, Executive Director of the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance.

Some claim that South Carolina sends $1.5 billion a year (at $65 per barrel) to OPEC for our transportation energy, $4 million a day.

"This situation is not sustainable,” said Baxter-Clemmons. "Hydrogen and fuel cells are part of a strategy to secure our energy future. That’s why I’m also very happy to see tax credits for hydrogen and fuel cells as well as other near term technologies.”

The Act allows a broad sales tax exemption for consumers purchasing hydrogen and fuel cell related technologies as well as other alternative energy vehicles. Tax credits are available for consumers purchasing electric, hybrid or ethanol powered vehicles and incentives are provided to people building ethanol and biodiesel facilities.

In addition to sales tax exemptions, taxpayers can also make contributions to the Hydrogen Infrastructure Development Fund and are allowed a tax credit equal to twenty-five percent of a qualified contribution.

"The Hydrogen Infrastructure Development Act is an important step toward breaking America’s addiction to carbon fuels, especially foreign oil, and it is especially important to South Carolina, because we produce no oil and no coal,” said John Clark, Director of the South Carolina Energy Office.

The South Carolina Research Authority will be responsible for managing and distributing the $15 million in funding used to create a sustainable foundation upon which a hydrogen economy may develop across South Carolina.

"We look forward to collaborating with our government, industry, and university partners to rapidly and judiciously implement hydrogen energy value chain projects which maximize knowledge economy company formation and job creation in SC,” said Bill Mahoney, SCRA CEO.

The South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance is a public-private collaboration for cooperative and coordinated utilization of resources in the state used to advance the commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. 

Founded in January 2006, the Alliance was created by six core members dedicated to hydrogen and fuel cell initiatives: the Center for Hydrogen Research, Clemson University, the Savannah River National Laboratory, SC Department of Commerce, S.C. State University and the University of South Carolina.

For more information on the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance, please visit www.SCHFCA.org.

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