Nuvera, Küster Zima Announce Hydrogen Fuel Cell Partnership

November 17, 2008

Spartanburg-area machinery manufacturer to fabricate hydrogen fuel generators  

COLUMBIA, SC – November 17, 2008 – The South Carolina Department of Commerce joined Nuvera Fuel Cells and Küsters Zima in announcing a partnership between the two companies.  Nuvera Fuel Cells, headquartered in Billerica, Mass., has selected Spartanburg-based Küsters Zima as a manufacturing partner for its hydrogen generation product, PowerTapTM.    This partnership represents an important step towards commercially viable alternative fuel sources and significant achievement in advancing hydrogen-related manufacturing in South Carolina. 

“This project represents the cutting edge of fuel technology and will be the first product of its kind produced in South Carolina,” said Ken Kruse, president and chief executive officer of Küsters Zima. “We are excited to be involved in this project and pleased to have been selected by Nuvera as their partner.”  

The Business Services Division at the Department of Commerce, led a partnership effort to connect the business opportunity between Nuvera and Küster Zima.  Nuvera contacted the Department of Commerce to seek guidance on what companies in South Carolina might have the resources to execute their hydrogen generation design.    

Spartanburg-based Küsters Zima has a strong history in textile manufacturing.  The company’s commitment to innovation and custom equipment manufacturing and fabrication made them an ideal choice to meet Nuvera’s specifications.  After an extensive search, Küsters was chosen based on their ability to meet Nuvera’s high quality, low cost and on-time delivery requirements.   

The generators are roughly six feet by 12 feet in size and convert natural gas into hydrogen.  They will be installed on-site at warehouses and distribution centers to generate cost effective hydrogen that will refill fuel cell-powered forklift trucks. 

“The PowerTap PTG hydrogen generator is one of the keys to a positive value proposition for customers converting their forklift fleet from traditional lead acid batteries to fuel cells. Choosing the right manufacturing partner for this product was crucial, and Kusters had the experience and skill set Nuvera required.  Nuvera is delighted to have selected Kusters, and looks forward to a strong and mutually beneficial relationship,” said Prabhu Rao, Vice President, Operations, Nuvera Fuel Cells. 

Fuel cells are a natural fit for the high productivity material handling industry, as they provide constant power levels, quick refueling and the elimination of time consuming battery changes. 

A statewide infrastructure of fuel cell partners played a role in demonstrating South Carolina’s commitment to the hydrogen economy.  Key organizations in addition to the Department of Commerce and the Economic Futures Group of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce include: the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance, South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the S.C. Technical College System, Savannah River National Lab, the Upstate Workforce Investment Board, the South Carolina Research Authority and the University of South Carolina’s NSF Cooperative Research Center for Fuel Cells. 

“Helping businesses find the clients and services they need is an important facet of what we do at the Department of Commerce. This partnership is a great example the services and resources our business services team can provide. Küsters Zima has a strong history in textile and custom equipment manufacturing in South Carolina and this new venture presents great opportunity for future development.  This announcement is also signifies that South Carolina’s business-friendly climate and strong workforce are encouraging growth among new industries,” said Joe Taylor, Secretary of Commerce.  

“The Economic Futures Group of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce welcomes this announcement as a further endorsement of the innovation-oriented business base here in Spartanburg, the region and across the state.  We will continue to encourage partnerships between South Carolina companies and exciting new business opportunities like Nuvera,” said Carter Smith, executive vice president of the Economic Futures Group. 

About Küsters Zima

Küsters Zima specializes in designing and fabricating custom machinery for a range of industries including flooring, technical fabrics, municipal and industrial wastewater and food industries. Küsters Zima is a subsidiary ofJagenberg AG, Krefeld, Germany. 

For more information on Küsters Zima, visit

About Nuvera Fuel Cells

Nuvera Fuel Cells is a global leader in the development and advancement of multi-fuel processing and fuel cell technology committed to providing clean, safe and efficient power solutions. The company has offices located in the U.S. and Italy, and is committed to advancing the commercialization of : hydrogen fuel cell power modules for industrial vehicles, equipment and stationary applications; on-site hydrogen generation and on-board gasoline fuel processors; and fuel cell stacks and power systems for automotive and transportation applications. 

For more information on Nuvera Fuel Cells, visit

About Commerce’s Business Services Division

The Business Services Division supports growth opportunities for South Carolina’s existing business community through both supply chain connections, and an infrastructure of partners assisting in every aspect of business from regulatory advice, to production and process improvement.  The Division also houses the Small Business Ombudsman’s Office, aiding in small business start-up and growth.