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April 27, 2005                                                                       


--Public-private collaboration brings pollution-free luggage tugs to airport—

 TALLAHASSEE Pollution-free baggage tugs are heading to Orlando International Airport this summer.  The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today joined executives from Delta Air Lines, Ford Motor Company, TUG Technologies Corporation and the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) to announce a partnership that will deliver hydrogen-powered tow tractors to one of Florida’s busiest airports.  Delta Air Lines will use the near-zero emission tow tractors to transport passenger luggage. 

Florida and its partners are charting a new course toward alternative, efficient and cleaner energy,” said DEP Deputy Secretary for Regulatory and Energy Programs Allan Bedwell.  “Together with landmark legislation that will expand investment in ‘next generation’ energy technology, this collaboration will provide the knowledge and expertise for stimulating the widespread use of hydrogen in the transportation and tourism industries.”

As part of the hydrogen demonstration project, two Standard Tug M-1 tow tractors, powered by 4.2-liter, V-6 Ford engines and modified to run on hydrogen, will be used to transport Delta passenger luggage at the Orlando airport.  As a gateway to the Sunshine State, Orlando International accommodates more than 31 million travelers annually. A first of its kind in the nation, the high visibility project will provide real world operating experience in hydrogen power for advancing and improving the newest hi-tech approach to cleaner, sustainable sources of energy.

The public-private partnership between Florida, Delta, Ford, TUG Technologies and GOAA is part of a portfolio of hydrogen technology projects underway to establish the state’s hydrogen economy.  Already a national leader in the development of hydrogen energy, Florida currently has 28 mobile and stationary hydrogen demonstration projects underway, in development or in the planning stage.  The State is also purchasing eight of the world’s first commercially available hydrogen shuttle busses for visitor transit in the Orlando area and, in February, Governor Jeb Bush broke ground on Florida’s first hydrogen energy station.

Worldwide, energy companies, automakers and petroleum companies are investing more than $2 billion annually to expand the hydrogen technology industry.  To encourage corporate investment in Florida, DEP is spearheading the Hydrogen Energy Technologies Act.  Sponsored by Senator Lee Constantine and Representative Adam Hasner, the legislative proposal would grow the revolutionary technology, diversify Florida’s economy by increasing investment and modernize and streamline regulations.  With its attractive business climate and amenable year-around weather, the Sunshine State expects to become a nucleus for the hydrogen industry, effectively competing in global markets and expanding the state’s exports.

For more information on Florida’s energy initiatives, visit www.FloridaEnergy.org


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