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Blog Entries - tag: 'Summit'

Journal-News Coverage of 2018 Summit

Posted on: May 6, 2018
Tags: Media, Summit, News, In the news

Journal News Front Page Story:  Funds key to clean public transport

Butler looks to offer more efficient transit options for public.

Stark Area Regional Transit Authority (SARTA) showed off one of its10 hydrogen fuel-cell buses at the fifth annual ThinkRegional Southwest Ohio Summit in West Chester Twp. on April27. Butler County Regional Transit Authority officials say the technology would be a boost for local transportation. ERIC SCHWARTZBERG /STAFF

By Eric Schwartzberg Staff Writer

BUTLERCOUNTY— Newer, cleaner forms of public transportation could become a reality in Butler County, but only if local agencies are able to fund the remainder of a vehicle’s price once federal grants are secured.

That’s according to Matt Dutkevicz, the Butler County Regional Transit Authority’s executive director, who said hydrogen fuel cell or battery electric buses are two options that would be a leap forward in local transportation in terms of reducing emissions and increasing sustainability.   “We’re interested in any kind of clean fuel technology that’s affordable and efficient,” Dutkevicz said. “We always kind of have our eyes on the horizon to see what’s coming up ... so that we can be a resource for the community and bring the best solutions to the table for them.”

Fuel cells are considered safer than gasoline-powered vehicles and are two to three times more efficient, according to Stark Area Regional Transit Authority in Canton, which showed off the new technology last week at the 2018 Think Regional Southwest Ohio Summit in West Chester Twp.  Unlike conventional diesel or gasoline-fueled vehicles, fuel cell cars and trucks combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, which runs a motor. The fuel cell is able to use 40 to 60 percent of the energy from the fuel —the hydrogen—to power the vehicle.  That means reducing the need for about 9,000 gallons of fuel over the lifetime of the vehicle and reducing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere by 100 tons per vehicle, the equivalent of 10 school buses of carbon emissions.

Also appealing is that both hydrogen fuel cell buses and battery electric buses offer fewer moving parts than their diesel-fueled, liquid natural gas or compressed natural gas counterparts, which rely on an internal combustion engine that requires a great deal of maintenance and attention, Dutkevicz said.  “From our perspective, that’s an efficiency,” he said.  “We’re a public agency, we want to be responsible and if the price of these electric and hydrogen vehicles comes down, that bus can spend more time on the road providing service than in the garage with us doing extra things and providing additional maintenance to keep it out there every day.”

But BCRTA, which does not have any dedicated local funding, would need to find a local agency with which to partner to secure low-emission or no-emission grants.  “We need a partner at the table like a Hamilton or a Butler County or somebody who says ‘We want to get this project off the ground.  We want a clean fuel transit route, transit system and we’re going to help fund that if BCRTA will operate and go find the federal funds ...’ then we can bring some local money to the table,” Dutkevicz said.

Dutkevicz said hydrogen fuel-cell buses could be an option for Hamilton as Spooky Nook at Champion Mill opens in about two years and greater demand is placed on local infrastructure.

A “decked out” diesel bus can cost as much as $600,000, while each hydrogen fuel-cell bus now costs about $1.2 million, according to Kirt Conrad, SARTA’s executive director and CEO.  “At this point ... the expense is because they’re single-order runs, but we have a target point of probably about $700,000,” Conrad said. “European bus makers are about there now.”

SARTA, along with Ohio State University’s Center for Automotive Research and the Ohio Department of Transportation, launched the Midwest Fuel Cell Center of Excellence and the Renewable Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Collaborative in 2017.
SARTA recently purchased 10 hydrogen fuel cell buses, making its fleet the largest in the United States outside of California.

A kilogram of hydrogen has the same energy release as a gallon of gasoline, and provides about 60 to 70 miles per kilogram, double the mileage provided by gasoline, Conrad said.  Normal range for such a vehicle is as much as 230 miles but the upper limit range is continually being expanded, he said.  Because it is a hybrid, it recharges as it decelerates.  It also lasts about 12 years, the typical lifespan of a diesel transit bus.

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Posted on: March 29, 2017
Tags: Event updates, Summit, Skilled jobs, Speaker updates

Shelly Abrams, Chairperson of Think Regional, was interviewed on the Lebanon City Cable channel about the exciting agenda for the upcoming Summit on April 28, focusing on the Development of a Skilled Workforce for the 21st Century.

We have 2 interesting panels discussing the collaborative actions of major Chambers of Commerce and leading Educational institutions in our region, followed by Presentations by leading authors from Ohio: Phil DeVol, co-author of "Bridges Out of Poverty", and JD Vance, author of the best-selling book "Hillbilly Elegy". In the afternoon, Bill Muse, President Emeritus of the National Issues Forum Institute, part of the Kettering Foundation, will lead small group discussions on how our region could best take action to address the dual needs of businesses and displaced workers to fulfill the thousands of open middle-class salary jobs in technical fields in our area.

Click on or copy and paste the link below into your browser and fast forward to the 19th minute for Shelly's interview: 

To register for the event (we're nearly sold out!), click on the Registration page on our website. Details of the agenda are in the Events page on our website.

You won't want to miss this compelling event, if you are at all interested in or impacted by the need to better develop our skilled workforce and fill open technical jobs in SouthWest Ohio!

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2017 Summit Agenda and Panel-Speaker Overview

We are excited to announce the details of the agenda and an overview of the speakers and panelists for the 2017 Think Regional Summit.  Our focus will be on the collaborative actions we could take to help increase our skilled workforce in Southwest Ohio, reducing the level of unfilled technically skilled jobs, and helping to retrain more of our displaced workers from traditional manufacturing jobs.

Click on the Events Link and the 2017 Agenda page for the details.

YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS THIS COMPELLING EVENT!  After you check out the Agenda, click on the Registration Link and the 2017 Registration page to sign up TODAY!


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Register for the 2017 Summit Today

Posted on: January 18, 2017
Tags: Summit, Job growth, Skilled jobs, Education

The registration page is now open for the 2017 Think Regional Summit.  You won't want to miss this event!

Continuing our focus on collaborative actions to help facilitate greater economic growth and an increase in higher-paying, career-oriented jobs, we will focus on activities and insights that can build a stronger skilled and educated workforce across our region, which is key to attracting the investments that lead to greater economic growth and higher paying, career jobs to Southwest Ohio.

Our key speakers will be J.D. Vance, best-selling author of "Hillbilly Elegy" and Phil DeVol, co-author of "Bridges Out of Poverty", both Ohio natives.  We are also pleased to have Dr. Bill Muse, President Emeritus of the National Issues Forum, a part of the Kettering Foundation, who will help us lead the afternoon Issue Action Group discussions with the format of "Deliberative Decision Making" that National Issues Forum employs to facilitate discussions of community issues across the country.

You can reserve your spot today at the EventBrite web site at  We look forward to seeing you at the Summit on April 28!

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