February 2006

02.13.2006
Toyota Technical Center Leases Laboratory Facility in Center for Hydrogen Research
(full press release)

02.13.2006
Dignitaries Celebrate Center for Hydrogen Research Grand Opening
(full press release)

02.05.2006
Start moving toward hydrogen economy
(full article)


February 13, 2006
(PDF Format)

Aiken County Government
828 Richland Avenue, West
Aiken, SC 29801

Toyota Technical Center Leases Laboratory Facility in Center for Hydrogen Research

Aiken, South Carolina: Toyota Technical Center, USA and Aiken County, South Carolina announced today they have entered into an agreement in which Toyota Technical Center will lease 1,640 square feet of laboratory and support space n Aiken County's recently completed Center for Hydrogen Research. Toyota will use the space to perform research and development on hydrogen fuel components necessary for the next generation of fuel cell powered vehicles. Fuel cell vehicles are widely regarded as the most promising future technology for environmentally friendly transportation systems which do not use increasingly expensive and scarce petroleum for fuel.

Toyota Technical Center, headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan is Toyota Motor Company's North American research, development and engineering organization, performing a wide variety of technical and regulatory activities in support of the North American market. Toyota Technical Center has a cooperative research agreement with the Savannah River National Laboratory, and will perform complementary development activities in its new facilities in the Center for Hydrogen Research.

The Center for Hydrogen Research is a 60,000 square foot laboratory and support facility especially designed and constructed by Aiken Country for hydrogen production, storage and infrastructure research. The Center is designed to co-locate, in the same laboratory complex, hydrogen research programs being conducted by the Savannah River National Laboratory with programs sponsored by industry and academia. The Center's purpose is to facilitate the transfer of technology from the Savannah River National Laboratory to industry and the consumer.

The Center for Hydrogen Research opened February 13, 2006. In addition to Toyota Technical Center, the Savannah River National Laboratory has leased space in the Center for Hydrogen Research. The Center for Hydrogen Research is in Aiken Country's Savannah River Research Campus. The Research Campus is located adjacent to the Department of Energy's Savannah River Site and near New Ellenton, South Carolina.

The Center for Hydrogen Research is a member of South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance and the National Hydrogen Association.

For more information, please contact:
Fred E. Humes
Center for Hydrogen Research
803-643-6802
fhumes@edpsc.org

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  February 13, 2006 
(PDF Format)

Dignitaries Celebrate Center for Hydrogen Research Grand Opening

Aiken, South Carolina: Business and government leaders from throughout the nation attended the Grand Opening of Aiken County's Center for Hydrogen Research on Monday, February 13, 2006. The only facility of its kind in the world, the Center for Hydrogen Research was specifically designed to facilitate cooperative research among the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL), universities and industry to develop new products and services necessary for the emerging hydrogen economy.

National, state and local dignitaries spoke on topics ranging from the Center's influence on the local economy to the future use of hydrogen fuel globally. All participants emphasized that developing affordable and reliable hydrogen-fueled applications is key to our nation's long-term energy and economic security because it lessens our reliance on expensive foreign petroleum.

Clay Sell, Deputy Secretary of Energy reviewed the Administration's program to accelerate the introduction of environmentally friendly hydrogen-fueled vehicles into the marketplace. "History has proven that innovation and technological advancement can overcome almost any obstacle and serve as the driving engine of economic growth and prosperity. The Center for Hydrogen Research is a practical symbol of a much larger effort that has the potential to transform our economy, fuel our vehicles, and move our goods in new ways - much like the internal combustion engine did in the past century. I believe this center, and the people who will work here will playa key role in this effort. "

James Griffith, Vice President of the Toyota Technical Center, U. S. A., discussed Toyota's collaborative research efforts to develop reliable and affordable hydrogen power vehicles. "The vehicle's hydrogen storage system is the fuel-tank in the car of the future," said Griffith, "and our work with SRNL in this new laboratory will aid us insuccessfully solving this most critical requirement. We are proud to be part of such an innovative project."

Lauding the forethought and initiative of local leaders, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham commented on the national imperative to develop alternatives to unreliable foreign-based petroleum supplies. "Aiken's investment in the Center for Hydrogen Research is visionary. The hydrogen economy of the future could very well be developed in Aiken. As a nation we need to become less dependent on foreign oil. It would be irresponsible if 50 years from now we're still reliant on Middle Eastern oil to drive our national economy. Aiken and the entire state stand to benefit from President Bush's technology innovation and energy independence proposals. What Detroit was to the automotive industry, South Carolina can be to hydrogen."

South Carolina Representative Gresham Barrett stated "The work being done in hydrogen production and fuel cell applications is providing an opportunity for the public and private sector to work together to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy. We are fortunate to have the Savannah River Site, the Savannah River National Laboratory, several quality research universities and the new International Center for Automotive Research in such close proximity to the Center for Hydrogen Research. There is no doubt that South Carolina is leading the world in hydrogen research and together we will move our nation toward the President's goal of replacing more that 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025."

South Carolina has identified hydrogen-related activity as high priority for a new technology business cluster. "This administration is focused on growing our knowled-gebased economy through building on our state's competitive advantages in sectors like hydrogen and fuel cell research," said Gov. Mark Sanford. "We view hydrogen research as being a catalyst that can bring high quality jobs and significant capital investment into our state, and as an important step toward helping us raise income levels in South Carolina. "

"Ten years ago, when Washington Group donated the land for the Savannah River Research Campus to Aiken County, this was precisely the kind of facility we envisioned would be here one day," said E. Preston Rahe, Jr., President - Energy & Environment, for Washington Group International. "Our goal was for the state and Aiken County to be able to leverage the exceptional technology and other capabilities of the Savannah River National Laboratory for commercial and educational purposes. With this new center, that is happening."

The Center for Hydrogen Research was constructed by Aiken County government. Ronnie Young, Chairman Aiken County Council stated "The Center will showcase local capabilities to the world, and provide an opportunity to inform our citizens on the needs and many benefits of hydrogen as the future energy source."

The ceremonies were followed by the Ribbon Cutting, Grand Opening Reception and an Open House for visitors to tour the facility.

The Center for Hydrogen Research is the result of close collaboration between SRNL and Aiken County. This 60,000 sq. ft structure houses lab space for both the Savannah River National Laboratory researchers and private partners to investigate and test the storage, production and supporting disciplines of hydrogen. The Center for Hydrogen Research is a member of the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance and the National Hydrogen Association.

For more information, please contact:
Fred Humes
The Center for Hydrogen Research
803-643-6802
fhumes@edpsc.org

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February 5, 2006 
(view original article)

By Andy Brack
Publisher
"SC Statehouse Report"

Start moving toward hydrogen economy

Imagine if you had a bunch of yellowish rocks in your yard that kept turning up anytime you were planting tomatoes or new bushes. For years, you thought they were of little use - - just some yellow rocks.

Then one day, a geologist stopped by your house, saw the rocks and said, "Eureka. Gold!"

What once was of little value to you suddenly would be worth a lot.

The state of South Carolina is in the midst of a "Eureka" moment. More than 50 years of research at the Savannah River Site has generated piles of research and loads of scientists with expertise in using hydrogen, mostly radioactive tritium, for defense purposes.

But with world's depleting petroleum supply that fuels an increasing thirst for energy, experts say the very thing being used and studied for years in South Carolina gives it a huge competitive advantage in the quest for future energy solutions.

Over the next 20 years, researchers around the world will be working to develop new energy systems that can meet power needs around the world - - from fueling vehicles to heating homes to powering industrial plants.

"Hydrogen has the potential to be used more efficiently than fossil fuels, and its applications are seemingly endless," according to a September 2005 report called "South Carolina Next Energy Initiative."

But today, use of hydrogen as a cost-effective energy source faces challenges, such as how to produce it safely and efficiently on a large scale, as well as how to store and distribute energy throughout society.

South Carolina has big advantages. In addition to a world-class hydrogen fuel cell laboratory (a key component in storage) at the University of South Carolina and automotive and transportation hubs at Clemson and SC State, the newest U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory is the Savannah River National Laboratory, started in 2004. "It has a $139 million annual budget from the federal government and a concentration of hydrogen researchers (90) that may be the largest in the US and even the world," the report said.

In fact, the state ranks 12th nationally in DOE hydrogen projects, fourth in hydrogen storage projects and third in hydrogen delivery projects, according to the 2005 Hydrogen Program Review.

But so far, the state has been slow to move toward taking advantage of these assets and turning them into jobs and opportunity. But it is getting its act together.

Just last month, the state announced formation of a team of the state's top hydrogen researchers as the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance (www.schydrogen.org) to figure out a statewide plan for how to collaborate and streamline efforts to take advantage of the state's hydrogen assets. On Feb. 13, a new Center for Hydrogen Research in Aiken is set to open as a place to work on commercializing hydrogen products.

Also last month, Gov. Mark Sanford's budget proposed $448,000 in new spending at the state Department of Commerce to enhance hydrogen and fuel cell collaboration efforts through administrative support and planning. Another $2 million is proposed for the Clemson ICAR automotive research center.

"You've got to crawl before you walk," said Commerce chief of staff Tim Dangerfield. "Once you start crawling, you'll soon be walking to create opportunities."

Fred Humes of the Center for Hydrogen Research projects spin-off applications could lead to 40,000 new jobs over the next 20 years.

But to get those jobs here, the state and hydrogen research collaborators need to get a move on if South Carolina is to become a real hydrogen player. There's a concern that while South Carolina continues to plan, other states will grab opportunities and take them away, particularly the private investment that's needed to commercialize research.

"It's extremely important for us to identify a major project with major opportunities," said Garry Powers of Concurrent Technologies Corporation in Columbia, which offered another state hydrogen report in July 2005.

If state lawmakers want to make an impact on the process, they can put pressure on Commerce officials and the Alliance to prioritize the state's hydrogen agenda in short order. But then they have to be prepared in a year or so when there's a request for $10 million or even $50 million to invest in promising opportunities that can create jobs across the state.

Hydrogen and fuel cells have the potential to be a huge economic engine for the state - - just as rice production was in the 18th century. But if we don't move quickly, it could go the way of rice - - to other places.

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