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Akron purchasing eco-friendly golf carts

3/28/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

At the March 25 meeting, Akron City Council approved the purchase of 15 golf carts fueled by compressed natural gas and five golf carts fueled by compressed hydrogen gas.

The golf carts, at $15,000 each, will be purchased from Akron Global Business Accelerator start-up company Hydrogen Energy Systems LLC (HES), which developed the technology to address emissions from small internal combustion engines. According to city officials, the technology, known as a Mixing Block™, runs a small internal combustion engine on 100 percent hydrogen or natural gas.

As part of the agreement to purchase the golf carts, the Akron Development Corp. (ADC) will agree to use its best efforts in aiding HES in marketing and selling HES golf carts to potential purchasers. In return, HES will pay to the ADC a portion of the sale of every ADC-marketed HES golf cart.

“This is a really exciting announcement,” said Deputy Mayor Rick Merolla during the Public Service Committee meeting. “We think the upside is great.”

Merolla said the purchase of the golf carts will benefit the environment and save money, and the city’s purchase will support a locally developed company providing jobs for Akron citizens.

In a press release, Mayor Don Plusquellic said, “We fully support this locally grown company and want to use our best efforts to see that it succeeds. This revolutionary technology has the potential to change the whole engine industry, from small engines to automobiles, and beyond. We have the opportunity right now to make the environment cleaner and safer for our kids, and capitalize on a great invention. When this takes off, the manufacturing of these mixing blocks will occur in Akron and provide jobs for our citizens.”

In other business, Council approved:

  • a $728,000 agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation for mowing along interstates 77, 76 and 277 in the city of Akron between April and November;
  • a resolution opposing the passage of House Bill 5 by the state legislature, which proposes uniformity measures for municipal income taxes. Council members said the passage of the bill would result in unfunded mandates being imposed upon Ohio communities and a loss of revenue; and
  • the renewal application for three parcels of land in West Akron to continue to be placed in an agricultural district. The parcels are part of Bessemer Farms, which, according to Don Bessemer, who was in attendance, has been in operation for 117 years.

The next Akron City Council meeting will take place April 1 at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers on the third floor of the Akron Municipal Building, 166 S. High St. Committee meetings are set to begin at 2 p.m. that afternoon, also in Council Chambers.

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