TFN Improves Ohio Fuel Cell Research Through Remote Shared Instruments

Congressman Regula Honored for His Part in Garnering $5.1 Million in Federal Funds for Network Research Applications

Canton, OH -- March 29, 2004 -- State officials converged at Stark State College of Technology today to focus on the Third Frontier Network's (TFN) capacities to support fuel cell research. The Third Frontier Network will make Ohio a world leader in using technologically advanced networking to improve education, research and medical care.

The TFN will link Stark State and Case Western Reserve University so that they can share expensive instruments and resources to research fuel-cell based power generation systems. The network will allow researchers at one university to view the output of a scientific instrument at a research lab 100 miles away, reducing the time and cost in research and development.

Governor Taft recognized Congressman Ralph Regula (R-OH) for spearheading $5.1 million in fiscal year 2004 Consolidated Appropriations Act federal funding to the Ohio Board of Regents for TFN applications.

"Ohio's Third Frontier Network will lead the nation in linking colleges, universities, schools and businesses to spur research and economic development," Ohio Governor Bob Taft said. "We want to thank Congressman Regula for supporting this technological investment that will facilitate the kinds of interactions and innovative applications Ohio needs to move ahead in the knowledge economy."

"I am pleased that the Third Frontier Network will greatly enhance research and economic opportunities for northeast Ohio's higher education and K-12 schools," said Rep. Ralph Regula, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education. "These advanced technologies are precisely the way that Ohio can move to the forefront in high-tech economic development."

SOFCo-EFS Holdings LLC in Alliance, Ohio, will lease space in the $4.5 million Advanced Prototyping User Center for fuel cell research and education on Stark State's campus. Dr. Tom Zawodzinsky, an Eminent Scholar for Fuel Cell Research at Case, will collaborate with Stark State and SOFCo by offering its fuel cell testing and instrumentation equipment over TFN for real-time analysis and development.

Stark State and Case received Wright Capital Center of Innovation funds in 2003 to partner in fuel-cell research, development, and commercialization of fuel cells. The partnership will retain the SOFCo's 33 high-paying jobs with a payroll of $2.4 million, in addition to assisting additional economic development in the area. The Center will be completed in late 2005.

"The Third Frontier Network's ability to help advance science and technology research is virtually limitless," said Rod Chu, Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor. "This network will foster research collaboration between Ohio's universities on secure channels, while simultaneously promoting critical scientific and industrial research that will increase technology jobs and improve the overall economy."

OARnet, the Ohio Supercomputer Center's (OSC) networking division, is currently installing optical fiber routers and equipment at the Canton area Point-of-Presence, or POP, with a completion by summer 2004. The statewide TFN backbone is scheduled to be operational by autumn 2004, with colleges and universities connected by September.

"Dark Fiber provides the most cost-effective and scalable solution to the long-term needs of higher education and research," said Al Stutz, OARnet Director. "These networks can be customized to meet specific and unique research requirements. With TFN, we will be able to explore new experimental networking technology."

TFN initiatives receiving FY 2004 Consolidated Appropriations Act funding include a medical collaboration network, shared instrumentation, and a science education network.

TFN is a technology initiative of the Ohio Board of Regents built by OARnet with the collaboration of education and industry partners such as Ohio SchoolNet. TFN is the most extensive high-speed, fiber optic network dedicated to higher education in the nation. With government, academic, and industry partners, TFN will position the state of Ohio as a world leader in networking technology and the knowledge economy.
For more information on TFN, please see www.tfn.oar.net.

For more information, contact:

Ohio Board of Regents:
Jamie Abel, Assistant Director of Communications
614-644-1988, jabel@regents.state.oh.us

Bret Crow, Assistant Director of Communications
614-752-9480, bcrow@regents.state.oh.us

Ohio Supercomputer Center/OARnet
Kathryn Kelley, Director of Outreach
614-292-6067, kkelley@osc.edu

Stark State College of Technology
Irene Lewis Motts, Director of Marketing and Communications
330-494-6170, Ext. 4275, imotts@starkstate.edu

Ohio SchoolNet
Carly Glick, Communications Officer
614-728-1886, glick@osn.state.oh.us