April 2008

4.29.2008
Inglis to teens: U.S. needs your Ideas
(view article)
 
4.25.2008
Running on Hydrogen
(watch video)

4.28.2008
South Carolina leads region in hydrogen economy
(view article)

4.22.2008
Inglis an unlikely environmentalist
(view article)

4.15.2008
Hydrogen Contest Winner Could Improve Airports Worldwide
(view article)

4.11.2008
South Carolina increases visibility for its hydrogen and fuel cell activities at the U.S's largest hydrogen conference
(view article)

4.10.2008
Fuel Cell Press Release
(view article) 

4.09.2008
Fuel Cell projects get support
(view article)

4.4.2008
Plan to invest in futuristic forklifts
(view article) 

4.4.2008
Getting a lift toward Green
(view article) 



April 29, 2008
(view original article)

Inglis to teens: U.S. needs your Ideas

When Hannah Whitt was born 17 years ago, gas only cost $1, give or take a few cents. Now, the Broome High School senior has to work a part-time job and sacrifice shopping trips to Greenville in order to pay at least $3.35 per gallon.

"I think, 'what about my future children? What's gas gonna be like when they're driving?' "said Whitt, a senior. "It's so scary because what if we have no oil, and what if new technology hasn't been thought of?"

Whitt and a host of teenagers concerned about rising gas prices talked with U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis Monday at the school about hydrogen fuel, the importance of the youth vote and a day in the life of a congressman. Inglis was invited by government teacher Gary Purinton, who wanted students to get a face-to-face lesson with a congressman instead of just reading about them in a book.

"I don't think most people knew what he did," said Marina Moroz, 17. "I didn't know he focused on energy and security," Marina said of Inglis.

"The fact that he would even come to speak to students says a lot," said Shaquinetta Morgan, 17. "It says he cares about Broome High."

Inglis said it's important to encourage youth to constantly think of new concepts that can help the ever-changing global society.

"I really would like to issue the challenge that you want to take advantage of every opportunity you've got here, so you're prepared for technological hurdles you'll face," he said. "And the way to prepare is to use every opportunity at school."

One student questioned why the United States has not tapped Alaska for oil.

Inglis explained that the oil reserve in Alaska only represents 1/27 of the amount of oil needed by Americans each day - which is 20 million barrels a day and will be 27 million barrels in another decade.

Inglis stressed that the country's oil problems could not be solved in Alaska alone.

That's why he's working to ensure that there will soon be a day when Americans can "break free of this addiction to oil." He's currently working to fund research on alternative fuel methods - particularly the use of hydrogen.

BMW, General Motors and Toyota, Inglis said, are each looking at various ways to create hybrid cars or to run them off of hydrogen fuel. He's hopeful that more jobs can be brought to South Carolina through innovative fuel research.

"I had no idea (congressmen) could influence ideas about hydrogen," Shaquinetta said. "I didn't know what congressmen did until today."

Inglis' mornings and afternoons in Washington are filled with voting and constituent meetings, and he often spends three hours a night reading e-mails from people in the 4th Congressional District.

The father of five told the teens that the future lies in their hands. Most of the Broome seniors who heard him speak will be eligible to vote in the presidential election this year, and Inglis urged them to get involved and to let their voices be heard.

"(Young adults) really are now - more than ever - crucial to the political process because of their willingness to change," said Inglis, who faces Republican challenger Charles Jeter in the June primary. "I want them to harness their creativity to face these changes we've got to make to be competitive in a world market."

Gary Wright, a senior, said he may plan to contact Inglis in the future with questions about his job. He plans to major in political science this fall at Clemson University.

"I'd eventually like to be a representative. I want to have a bigger say in what happens," said Wright, 17, adding that Inglis urged the class to "get involved."




April 28, 2008
(view original article)

South Carolina leads region in hydrogen economy

Would you believe that South Carolina is helping lead the way to an energy future that's no longer dependent on fossil fuels? And it's happening right now. Through the efforts of government, university and business leaders throughout the state, South Carolina is developing, demonstrating and deploying an energy infrastructure based on hydrogen gas and fuel cell power units. Just five years ago, a small group of visionaries gathered in regional meetings across South Carolina to ask what might be possible if a focused effort was placed on developing the market for fuel cells and hydrogen infrastructure in the Southeastern United States.

Today, the Aiken County Economic Development Partnership is working with Bridgestone/Firestone South Carolina to deploy over 40 hydrogen and fuel cell powered lift trucks at its plant in Aiken County. With a grant from the Washington Savannah River Company, the Center for Hydrogen Research in Aiken will use a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup equipped with a hydrogen internal combustion engine to demonstrate the viability of hydrogen transportation. Microbial fuel cells are under development at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. The City of Columbia, the University of South Carolina, the South Carolina Research Authority, and EngenuitySC signed a 20-year plan in 2006 to develop hydrogen and fuel cell energy. The U.S. Department of Energy is funding research by Clemson University and the Savannah River National Laboratory in the production of hydrogen and the performance of hydrogen fuel cells.

In June 2007, the South Carolina legislature passed General Bill S.243 establishing the Hydrogen Infrastructure Development Fund. The fund provides grants to promote the development and deployment of hydrogen production, storage, distribution, and dispensing infrastructure and related products and services. Cosponsored by Representative Bob Inglis, R - SC, the United States Congress enacted the H-Prize, a monetary reward to innovators who conquer the technical science challenges of moving to a hydrogen economy. In just a few short years South Carolina has emerged as a leader in the Hydrogen Economy.

If you want to learn more about what is happening in South Carolina and the surrounding region, then plan to join us at FuelCellSouth 2008, which is being held at the Greenville Hyatt Regency Hotel, April 28th through April 30th. Sponsored by FuelCellSouth, the three-day event will feature information on lift trucks, utility vehicles, emergency and portable backup power using hydrogen gas and fuel cell power units as well as hydrogen production, storage and dsitribution. You can find more information about at




April 22, 2008
(view original article)

Inglis an unlikely environmentalist

U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis, R-S.C., has news for you:

The era of cheap gasoline is over. SUVs will be things of the past. Gas will cost so much people will give them up.

“The resale value of them is dropping by the day,” says Inglis, who represents South Carolina’s most conservative area — the Greenville-Spartanburg corridor.

“In several years, $4 a gallon gasoline will be a fond memory.”

Such talk comes from a new Inglis, one who now steers a course apart from many Republican colleagues, who aren’t known for aggressive environmental stances.

In recent years, Inglis, 48, has become the most active of the eight-member S.C. congressional delegation on the intertwined issues of energy, the environment and the economy, according to political analysts, and business and environmental sources.

By temperament a maverick, Inglis will tell you what he actually thinks, based on research, instead of spewing a slick party line.

“I used to pooh-pooh global warming,” Inglis said in a wide-ranging interview last week.

But his son, Robert Jr., prodded him on climate change.

“He said, ‘I’ll vote for you, but you have to clean up your act on global warming.’”

Inglis is now far greener than the other five S.C. Republican Congress members, but not as green as the two Democrats — Rep. John Spratt and Rep. Jim Clyburn — according to the League of Conservation Voters.

“Inglis understands true conservatism encompasses conserving energy, land and other natural resources,” says Dana Beach, S.C. Coastal Conservation League executive director.

While conservatives will tell you that more drilling in the United States will lower gasoline prices, Inglis says drilling for more oil won’t lower gas prices because the country has only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves.

He’ll explain that China and India have 1 billion or more people, and both have populations who soon will drive cars, like Americans.

“That means the price of gas will continue to rise,” Inglis says, adding evidence indicates the world’s oil producers already operate at what is considered “peak capacity” — producing about 87 million barrels a day.

Inglis says people understand best when he frames oil as a national security issue.

“We are funding both sides of the war on terror,” he says. “We need to no longer depend for our transportation fuels on a region of the world that is so unstable and has people who use our purchases of oil to finance acts of terrorism against us.”

SOUTH POLE VISIT

Inglis’ post as top Republican on a key House subcommittee on Energy and Environment has allowed him to research environmental issues.

As a member of the House Science and Technology Committee, he’s visited Greenland and the South Pole, and seen scientific evidence of man-made global warming. Evidence indicates it could have catastrophic effects on the world, he says.

And because he is willing to work with Democrats, he has forged relationships that allow him to help craft key energy and environmental laws.

For example, Inglis worked with U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., last year to pass a law to offer millions in prize money for fuel-saving technology and to require federal buildings to phase in energy-saving lights.

RANKLING BMW

Inglis’ activism might seem not to mesh with his district.

After all, people known most for resisting aggressive measures to tackle energy and environment issues are conservatives, evangelical Christians and business folks — the bedrock of the Greenville-Spartanburg area.

But Danielle Vinson, a political science professor at Greenville’s Furman University, says Inglis is not in trouble with his constituents. “He’s been very smart about the way he’s tackled these issues,” Vinson said.

Rick Beltram, Spartanburg County GOP chairman, says, “Bob will do well in the primary.”

Beltram says Inglis’ “deep thinking” on issues like air pollution can help the urban Upstate, where increasingly dirty air might lead to curbs on growth and jobs.

Inglis takes positions that irk major industries in his district.

His insistence on high-mileage standards rankled major manufacturer BMW. None of its S.C.-made vehicles meet current U.S. fuel efficiency standards.

“They seem to understand at some level what I’m committed to,” chuckles Inglis, who praises BMW for using renewable energy sources and getting ready to make fuel-efficient vehicles.

BMW spokesman Bobby Hitt says his company finds Inglis helpful on most issues and versed on energy and environment.

“It’s kind of hard not to support a guy who really does his homework,” Hitt says.

‘MAKE IT HAPPEN’

Inglis likes nuclear, solar and wind initiatives, but his favorite future fuel is pollution-free hydrogen. But scientists say technology to make hydrogen a reality is 20 or 30 years away.

That doesn’t bother Inglis, who recalls President Kennedy’s 1961 promise to go to the moon.

“When he said it, it was anything but certain,” Inglis says. “We didn’t get to the moon by waiting for it to come to us, and we won’t get to hydrogen by waiting for it to happen. We have to go make it happen.”

The government needs to have a similar commitment to renewable alternate fuels, he says.

Pollution worries Inglis. Coal-fired power plants dump pollutants into the air — free of any clean-up charges, he says. That means electricity from coal is far cheaper than it should be, he says.

Inglis says his biggest challenge is convincing people they need more facts when they assert the U.S. can drill its way to energy independence.

At a Sertoma Club meeting last week in Greenville, he recalls, members said, “Inglis, come on man, get us some more oil! Why can’t we go drill in Anwar (Alaska National Wildlife Preserve)? “

Inglis says he told the group, “There are no quick solutions.”

Reach Monk at (803) 771-8344.




April 15, 2008

Hydrogen Contest Winner Could Improve Airports Worldwide

When you think of hydrogen, cars might be the first thing that comes to mind. But last week, non-automotive applications were the focus of the design developed by the grand prize winner of the 2007-2008 Hydrogen Student Design Contest.

In the opening keynote panel of the NHA's 19th Annual Hydrogen Conference, Dr. Shannon Baxter Clemmons, Executive Director of the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance (SCHFCA) announced the team from Missouri University of Science and Technology as the winner of the Hydrogen Education Foundation's (HEF) 2007-2008 Hydrogen Student Design Contest. The team was recognized for their unique design that highlighted technologies that are currently available for consumer purchase, including back-up and portable fuel cell power supply, hydrogen fork lifts, and on-site hydrogen production technologies.

The awards were presented by this year's Title Sponsor the SCHFCA, represented by Dr. Shannon Baxter-Clemmons. Another lead sponsor, U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program, represented by Deputy Assistant Secretary Dr. Steven Chalk, was also part of the award presentation. Other contest sponsors included Chevron Hydrogen, Natural Resources Canada, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and American Wind Power and Hydrogen. For this year's contest, teams of students from around the world were challenged to use a budget of $3 million to design the most effective airport hydrogen system to address the three main challenges for airports: noise, air pollution and groundwater contamination.

Designs were based on the Columbia International Airport in Columbia, SC, but are applicable to other airports worldwide. Twenty-three teams from countries all over the world registered for this year's contest, including teams from Canada, China, Guinea, India, Libya, Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States. The winning team's design included an on-site hydrogen fueling station, a primary fuel cell system to provide 200 kW of power to the airport, back-up power supply to protect the airport's computer systems, portable fuel cell power for tools and communications, a hydrogen forklift and baggage tug for use on the tarmac, as well as two hydrogen vehicles designed to increase public attention: a hydrogen ICE shuttle bus to transport passengers from the airport to downtown, as well as a hydrogen fuel cell scooter for use at the airport. Not only does the system drastically reduce the emissions created by power and personal vehicle use at the airport, it saves over $28,000 in heating and electric costs annually.

"The design presented by the team from Missouri was completely realistic and technically accurate," said Columbia Airport Director Mike Flack. "If implemented, this design would greatly decrease our energy footprint and bolster airport operations as a whole."

Four teams received honorable mention awards: McMaster University (Ontario, Canada), University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada), and two teams from Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan). Their designs included a wide range of hydrogen applications, from hydrogen power plants to waste-to-hydrogen production facilities. Each team presented their design as a poster in the Exhibition Hall at the Hydrogen Expo US. The team from Missouri received an all-expenses paid trip to Sacramento, CA for the NHA Conference to present their design to attendees on opening day. The winning team's presentation followed a panel of distinguished speakers, notably Paul Brubaker, administrator of the Department of Transportation's Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA) and Dr. Steve Chalk, U.S. Department of Energy.

Dr. Baxter-Clemmons, presented the awards to the grand prize winners. "We were very impressed by the students creative and practical design for hydrogen use at the Columbia Airport" said Dr. Baxter-Clemmons, "We are proud to help support the education of students and expand the public knowledge base about near-term applications of hydrogen."




April 11, 2008

South Carolina increases visibility for its hydrogen and fuel cell activities at the U.S's largest hydrogen conference

Columba, S.C. – Three South Carolinians were honored last week at the National Hydrogen Association’s annual conference where the new South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Pavilion was unveiled and the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance announced the winners of a student design contest to implement hydrogen technologies at the Columbia International Airport.

More than 20 leading business delegates from across South Carolina attended the conference in Sacramento, CA, which showcased South Carolina’s assets to more than 1,500 national and international stakeholders. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) and Columbia Mayor Bob Coble were each granted honorary memberships to the National Hydrogen Association (NHA). Jim Gambrell, Director of Economic Development for the City of Columbia, was on hand to accept Mayor Coble’s award. Sen. Graham and Rep. Inglis chair the Senate and House Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Caucuses, and Mayor Coble guided the City of Columbia to unanimously pass a resolution supporting the city’s objective to become a leader in fuel cell innovation.

“Not only did we debut our new pavilion in a high-visibility exhibition space, but we also saw some of our fellow South Carolinians inducted into the NHA as honorary members,” said Dr. Shannon Baxter-Clemmons, Executive Director of the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance (SCHFCA).

“Overall, our trip to the NHA conference this year was another huge step forward for our state’s hydrogen initiatives.” The SCHFCA is the title sponsor of the Hydrogen Education Foundation’s 2007-2008 Hydrogen Student Design Contest and helped develop this year’s theme, Hydrogen Applications for Airports.

SCHFCA’s Executive Director, Shannon Baxter-Clemmons, along with Paul Brubaker, Director of the Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, and Steve Chalk, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Energy for the U.S. Department of Energy, announced the winner of this year’s contest during the opening keynote session of the conference.

The Hydrogen Student Design Contest challenged student teams to use a budget of $3 million to design the most effective airport hydrogen system that would address the three main challenges of airports today: noise, air pollution and groundwater contamination. Designs were based on the Columbia International Airport, but were made to be applicable to other airports worldwide. The underlying idea behind the contest was to provide a design that could adopted by the Columbia Airport and implemented before the NHA holds its Annual Conference in Columbia in March 2009. Every previous contest winner has seen their ideas put to real-world use.

A team of students from the Missouri University of Science and Technology took home the grand prize in the Hydrogen Student Design Contest. “I was pleased to present Missouri S&T with the grand prize award,” said Baxter-Clemmons. “Missouri S&T’s design made good use of existing technologies that could be implemented for practical use by the time the NHA Conference comes to Columbia next year.” Twenty-three teams from around the world competed in the contest and the five finalists were announced in March.

The finalists included: McMaster University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, University of Waterloo, and two teams from Wayne State University. The University of Waterloo received the undergraduate first runner-up award and both Wayne State University teams received the first and second runners-up awards for graduate programs. McMaster University received the third runner-up award. “Not only could Missouri S&T’s design benefit the Columbia Airport, but it could also benefit all of South Carolina,” said Baxter-Clemmons. “Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies have the ability to reduce our environmental impact, lessen our dependence on foreign oil and create jobs for our state’s citizens.” The 2009 National Hydrogen Association Annual Conference will be held at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center March 30 – April 3, 2009. An estimated 1,500 attendees and 100 exhibitors will attend the conference when it comes to Columbia. The total economic impact of the conference has been estimated at $1 million, in addition to any pre- and post-conference events around the state.

About the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance:

The SCHFCA is a public-private collaboration for cooperative and coordinated utilization of resources in the state used to advance the commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. Founded in January 2006, the SCHFCA was created by six core institutions and organizations devoted to hydrogen and fuel cell initiatives: The Center for Hydrogen Research, Clemson University, Savannah River National Laboratory, the S.C. Department of Commerce, S.C. State University and the University of South Carolina.

For more information on the SCHFCA and its members, please visit www.schydrogen.org.

About the Hydrogen Student Design Contest: The Hydrogen Education Foundation’s Hydrogen Design Contest challenges teams of university level students from around the world to develop and design hydrogen applications for real-world use. For more information on the Contest, please visit www.hydrogencontest.org.

About The National Hydrogen Association: The National Hydrogen Association is a membership organization founded by a group of ten industry, university, research, and small business members in 1989.

Today the NHA’s membership has grown to over 100 members, including representatives from the automobile industry; the fuel cell industry; aerospace; federal, state, and local government; energy providers; and many other industry stakeholders. The NHA serves as a catalyst for information exchange and cooperative projects and provides the setting for mutual support among industry, government, and research/academic organizations. The NHA's mission is to foster the development of hydrogen technologies and their utilization in industrial, commercial, and consumer applications and promote the role of hydrogen in the energy field. For more information about the NHA, please visit www.hydrogenassociation.org.  




April 10, 2008
(view original article)

Fuel Cells Press Release

The USC Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative announced the Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge Phase II Awards at the 2008 National Hydrogen Association Conference in Sacramento, California. The challenge, organized by the University of South Carolina (USC), the City of Columbia, the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA), and EngenuitySC, was created in 2006 as an initiative to collaborate with private sector leaders from all areas of the fuel cell market for the unprecedented deployment of fuel cell and alternative energy technologies into multiple city, university and public applications in Columbia.

The initial phase of the Fuel Cell Challenge funded ten projects across portable power, stationary power and mobility applications, as well as various educational and public outreach initiatives, earning national recognition for its innovative approach in addressing the full spectrum of fuel cell technology initiatives. Phase II of the Challenge seeks to leverage the successes of Phase I activities to help accelerate the region’s efforts to become one of the premier destinations for hydrogen and fuel cell innovation in the country. Four proposals were selected for funding from the qualified public and private proposals submitted in response to the Phase II solicitation for a total Phase II projects investment in excess of $1 million. Phase II project awardees include Trulite, Inc., Boroscience International, Inc., Midlands Technical College, and Millennium Cell/Gecko Energy Technologies.

Trulite™, Inc., the developer of the KH4™ fuel cell power generator and the Hydrocell™ hydride fuel cartridge, received a Phase II award to conduct a beta test of its KH4™ integrated portable power generator, a 250 watt-off grid power source with applications in emergency preparedness, telecommunications, recreation and in the construction industry. The award will be used to procure 12 of its KH4™ portable fuel cell generators and 500 Hydrocells™, Trulite’s dry chemical hydride fuel cartridges for the power units. The 12 KH4™ beta generators will be deployed with the City of Columbia emergency responders, the USC College of Engineering, local start-up fuel cell companies (Palmetto Fuel Cell Technologies and Sequentus), and other potential government and commercial end users. “Trulite is excited to be a part of the Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge in our project to provide a full scale demonstration program with our KH4™ portable power generator and our Hydrocell™ cartridges,” said Ken Pearson, Trulite’s Chief Operating Officer. “Trulite’s Hydrocell™ and KH4™generator produces clean power from a safe and recyclable energy source. Simply plug in two Hydrocells™ into the KH4™, and you instantly have up to 250 watts of power.” For additional information about Trulite and its clean, quiet, safe, and lightweight portable KH4™ generator, visit www.trulitetech.com.

Boroscience International, Inc., a Columbia-based startup company, has been awarded a Phase II grant to develop an initial on-site production capability for two solid source boron hydrogen compounds that have applications as a fuel source for portable fuel cell applications as well as other high value industrial applications. Funds from the grant will be used to provide transitional laboratory and production facilities and to hire a post-doctoral and one additional assistant, enabling Boroscience to transition out of the USC Columbia Technology Incubator and into Innovista. The award will help launch the commercial business of Boroscience, enabling the company to establish its products in the existing, international market. Bernard F. Spielvogel, Ph.D., Boroscience founder and president, stated “with our company’s emphasis on boron containing solid source hydrogen compounds, this region is ideal for our growth and service to the hydrogen economy.” The success of Boroscience will have a positive impact on the region’s ability to collaborate with other companies in the portable fuel cell space. To find out more about Boroscience and the diverse applications of boron and its compounds, visit www.boroscience.com

Midlands Technical Colleges (MTC) received a Phase II award to enhance its Next Generation Fuel Cell Technology Program, a workforce development program that will serve the needs of the growing hydrogen and fuel cell industry. The Phase II award will help the college expand its facilities by adding two additional fuel cell laboratories. MTC is building a fuel cell subsystems lab and a commercial-variety analytical testing lab, both of which are expected to be operational within a year. “To attract businesses to Columbia that produce and utilize fuel cells, we need to offer them a trained workforce,” said Dr. Marshall (Sonny) White, Jr., MTC President. Neil

McLean, Executive Director of EngenuitySC, said “The MTC fuel cell program will further strengthen the region’s growing pipeline of market-based resources for attracting and retaining the nation’s top hydrogen and fuel cell companies.” For more information about MTC, visit www.midlandstech.edu.

Millennium Cell Inc., a leading developer of hydrogen battery technology, received a Phase II award to perform a market test of its newest product offering, an LED light and device charger. Gecko Energy Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Millennium Cell, will market test the product, which uses Millennium Cell’s PowerSkin™ fuel cells and Hydrogen on Demand® fuel system, to provide emergency power to small, portable devices such as lighting, cell phones and PDAs. “We are very pleased to establish a base of operations for the commercialization of Gecko products in Columbia and to receive support from the city and a number of South Carolina agencies to conduct this market test,” said Adam Briggs, president of Millennium Cell. Gecko’s long-term opportunities involve establishing manufacturing operations, product roll-out and workforce expansion in South Carolina to develop and manufacture PowerSkin™ fuel cell products. Initially, Gecko will establish several employees in Columbia, S.C. with potential for future job growth as manufacturing and production expand. To learn more about Gecko and the applications of PowerSkin™ technology, visit www.geckoenergy.com.

“ These projects provide an outstanding demonstration of economic development "win-win" outcomes that arise from successful partnerships and collaborations," said Bill Mahoney, president and CEO of SCRA. Mahoney further stated that "each of these awards represents a victory in our efforts to grow the knowledge economy in the Columbia region."

The activities of the Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge and its award recipients are advancing the vision of the fuel cell technology innovation pipeline that will launch the Columbia region into a position of leadership within the industry. For more information on the Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge, visit the Challenge website at www.fuelcellchallenge.com.




April 09, 2008
(view original article)

Fuel cell projects get support

The USC Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge announced today it will spend more than $1 million to fund three local hydrogen fuel cell projects and one project from a Texas-based company.

Trulite, Boroscience International, Midlands Technical College and Millennium Cell/Gecko Energy Technologies were awarded the funding at the National Hydrogen Association Conference in Sacramento, Calif.

Trulite, based in Houston, will work on a portable power generator called the KH4.

Boroscience, a Columbia-based company, will develop fuel sources for portable fuel cells.

Midlands Technical College will enhance its work force development program for training employees in the hydrogen and fuel cell industry.

Millennium Cell will test its latest product, an LED light and device charger. The product will be tested by Gecko Technologies, a Millennium Cell subsidiary based in Columbia.

“These projects provide an outstanding demonstration of economic development "win-win" outcomes that arise from successful partnerships and collaborations," Bill Mahoney, president and chief executive officer of the South Carolina

Research Authority, said in a news release.

The USC Fuel Cell Challenge is organized by USC, the city of Columbia, the South Carolina Research Authority and EngenuitySC.

These latest awards are the second phase of the challenge’s funding project. The first phase funded 10 projects. This second phase seeks to build on the first phase’s successes.

 — Adam Beam




April 4, 2008
(view original article)

Plan to invest in futuristic forklifts

By MIKE GELLATLY
Staff writer

Who knew a forklift would be the vehicle helping to usher in a new era in technology? But Bridgestone Firestone South Carolina is doing just that.
Bridgestone Firestone announced Monday that, within a year, the Aiken plant will replace its forklift fleet running on conventional batteries to operate from hydrogen fuel cells.

"We are very excited about this new green initiative," said Plant Manager Mike Rose. "Using this cutting-edge technology in a practical way helps our teammates and plant visitors get familiar with this clean, alternative energy. We're proud to be among the first in the neighborhood to use this green, clean fuel in our material movers."

The neighborhood is quite a large one, too. Fred Humes, director of the Aiken and Edgefield Counties Economic Development Partnership, believes BFSC will be the first plant using hydro-technology in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.

The plant is exchanging 23 forklifts this year and 20 in 2009 to create an all-hydrogen fleet. The fuel cells are a direct replacement that last longer than batteries and save time by refueling instead of recharging.

In addition to being environmentally friendly, hydrogen fuel cells improve teammate safety, Rose said. The cells eliminate the hazards associated with three times-a-day changing of heavy fork truck batteries - estimated around 3,000 pounds each.

The longer life of the fuel cell, with one to two changes a day, also reduces the number of times fork trucks need to be driven near pedestrian-occupied areas.
The hydrogen fuel cells have been developed by Plug Power, Inc., a hydrogen engineering company.

"The use of alternative energy sources, like hydrogen fuel cells, is key to our state's economic future," said Humes. 

 

April 04, 2008
(view original article)

Getting a lift towards Green

A forklift today, the highways of America tomorrow? That may be the thinking with Bridgestone/Firestone of South Carolina's announcement that it will be changing its forklifts at the Aiken facility from battery power to hydrogen fuel cell power.

BFSC plant manager Mike Rose announced the "green initiative" on Monday in what will also provide a safer environment for company workers. The plan is to create an all-hydrogen fleet of forklifts at the Aiken tire plant - 23 being changed to the hydrogen fuel variety this year and the remaining 20 in 2009.

According to Rose, the hydrogen fuel cells will allow the forklifts to operate longer between fuel changes. Currently the batteries in the forklifts must be replaced three times daily which is the primary safety issue. The batteries weigh 3,000 pounds each, requiring some risk as one is removed and put in recharging mode and a charged battery is put back into the forklift. With hydrogen fuel cells, the refueling will be just twice daily and take a mere five minutes to complete.

Whether hydrogen ever becomes a standard fuel source for vehicles in this country is anyone's guess at this point. The fact that industries like BFSC are making efforts at changing the way they do business with economical, safety and environmental considerations are most important.

Thinking outside the box keeps some companies viable for the long-term as they are able to adapt to the changing forces of the world. It is this kind of effort that can allow our nation to think beyond oil to a day when our energy needs can be met within the borders of our 50 states.

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