Congressman David Wu vists LEKTRO
Warrenton, Oregon - Congressman David Wu joined LEKTRO executives, staff and community members on Monday, August 20 to mark the U.S. Department of Defense’s purchase of two LEKTRO aircraft tugs which will be converted to tugs that are powered with an alternative energy source.
With Congressman Wu’s support, two LEKTRO tugs have been purchased for the Air Force to convert them from battery-operated to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The converted tugs are part of a DOD pollution prevention program. The goal is to move from gas-powered aviation ground support equipment to equipment powered with cleaner energy sources to eliminate or reduce emissions, hazardous materials and waste.
The U.S. Department of Defense 2007 appropriations bill included $26.2 million in federal funding for several Oregon projects and products. To date, Congressman Wu has secured $2 million of that budget for the LEKTRO project, which includes conversion, delivery and testing of the LEKTRO tugs for Air Force research and development.
When the funding was first announced, Congressman Wu stated, “This funding will launch and continue many vital research efforts in Oregon that assist our men and women in uniform. Such investments in nanotechnology, biomedical technology, smart apparel, and energy efficiency research will continue to drive our local and national economy forward.”
LEKTRO president/CEO Eric Paulson welcomed the Congressman to the factory on Monday to celebrate this success. Paulson also honored several members of the community and the LEKTRO workers for their support and hard work in making this project come to fruition. Many state legislators and local leaders who wrote letters in support of LEKTRO were present to thank Congressman Wu and congratulate Paulson and the LEKTRO team.
Specifics to the project include an assessment of alternatives to diesel and gasoline powered aviation tugs and ground positioning units, including but not limited to integration of hydrogen powered-Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell technology into existing aviation tugs and Aircraft Ground Equipment. This project fits in with the Air Force’s pollution prevention (P2) program, which selects innovative projects focused on research, demonstration, testing and evaluation of pollution prevention technologies to eliminate/reduce hazardous materials/waste and overall total ownership costs to the Air Force.
LEKTRO, a private company located in Warrenton, Oregon, has been pioneering the development and manufacture of battery-driven, environmentally-friendly vehicles for more than 60 years. In 1967, LEKTRO built the world’s first towbarless ground support vehicle to tow and position aircraft. The LEKTRO line has proven to be more efficient, safer, more reliable and infinitely more versatile than conventional tugs.
Paulson and Wu are currently working to secure another $1 million in federal funding to send more LEKTROs to U.S. military bases. Paulson said on Monday, “Military contracts such as these are a help to our nation and a boon in this area. LEKTRO is willing and able to continue our pioneering heritage, supporting improvements to the aviation industry.” LEKTRO currently employees 65 people with 10 new positions being added this year.
The two LEKTRO tugs shipped out from Warrenton on Friday, August 24; destination: U.S. Department of Defense, Johnston, PA.