The Toro Co., Bloomington, Minn., last week announced a partnership with the state of New York to provide the next generation of turf maintenance equipment powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The project supports New York’s executive order 111 to adopt “Green and Clean” state buildings and vehicles. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is contributing $380,025 toward the project.
In response to the executive order, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (NYSOPRHP) has an aggressive green parks initiative to support the advancement of hydrogen technology in New York. Selected as a partner, Toro will provide Niagara Falls State Park with three hydrogen-powered utility vehicles based on the Toro Workman chassis by mid-2007.
The NYSERDA-funded project included hydrogen fuel cell vehicles because they generate minimal emissions, reduced noise pollution, increase machine efficiency over gasoline- or diesel-powered equipment, and have low emissions.
“Toro is very excited to partner with the state of New York on its initiative to adopt clean-energy technologies,” said Dana Lonn, director of Toro’s Center for Advanced Turf Technology. “This project is a logical extension of our strategy and ongoing innovation, and provides us with an opportunity to gain greater operational experience in hydrogen fuel cells.”
The company also announced last week that its commercial equipment, including all diesel-powered golf course and sports fields and grounds equipment will be biodiesel ready by 2008.
This includes the Toro Reelmaster, Groundsmaster, Greensmaster, Workman and MultiPro product families. Beyond these specific product families, Toro will continue to expand the use of biodiesel fuels in other diesel-powered equipment lines.
As part of this initiative, the company is also creating upgrade kits for the above-mentioned product families to convert diesel models already in production or in the field to be compatible with biodiesel fuel. The kits are expected to be available by June 2007.
“Our biodiesel readiness initiative is part of a commitment to developing innovative solutions that meet the evolving needs of our customers and help to better the environment,” said Mike Hoffman, chairman and CEO of Toro. “The time is right for Toro and the industry to commit to this effort.”
Biodiesel is an alternative fuel source derived from biological sources that are completely biodegradable and non-toxic. Emissions from bio-fuels and biodiesel blends are lower than petroleum-based diesel fuels making them more environmentally friendly. There are various levels of biodiesel fuels including B2, B5, B10, B20 and B100. For example, biodiesel fuels designated as B20 represent a mixture of 80 percent petroleum and 20 percent bio-fuel.