June 2008

Clemson's alternative energy research to get boost from gift
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Reifsnider to head USC's energy research center
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ATC, Texas College receive $69K grant for hydrogen plan
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June 18, 2008
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Clemson's alternative energy research to get boost from gift

CLEMSON — The College of Engineering and Science at Clemson University has received a $1.1 million gift from Samuel and Patricia Deal earmarked for research for alternative energy sources.

The announcement came at the 2008 Major Donors Breakfast Sunday at the Madren Center. 

Samuel B. Deal is a graduate of the class of 1943 and has a bachelor's degree in chemistry. He received his master's in chemistry from Ohio State University. He is a Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient and invested more than 40 years with RCA, where he pioneered the development of color TV tubes. 

In thanking the Deals, engineering and science Dean Esin Gulari said, “The innovative combination of engineering and science disciplines facilitates study and research across departmental boundaries. An endowment like the Deals' will allow us to continue current research in alternative energy and pursue new avenues of exploration.”

Alternative energy research at Clemson falls under the area of advanced materials. Some of the researchers and areas currently being explored include:

  • Stephen Creager, professor and department chairman in chemistry, is developing new materials for proton-exchange-membrane hydrogen fuel cells and electrochemical energy-storage devices, such as rechargeable lithium ion batteries;
  • Jim Goodwin, chairman of chemical and biomolecular engineering, is looking into ways to expand the production of biodiesel. He and David Bruce, an associate professor, are studying the synthesis of ethanol from coal and biomass;
  • Terry Tritt, professor of physics, is investigating new and novel solid-state materials with the goal of achieving higher-efficiency thermoelectric devices;
  • Tetramer Technologies LLC is a Clemson start-up company owned and founded on technology developed by Clemson faculty and patents. Chemists and material scientists are exploring novel uses of materials that generate an electrical charge when pressure is applied. Possibilities include energy harvesting from vibrational environments such as tire rotation and aircraft vibration or even the footsteps of soldiers, and;
  • Creager and Darren Dawson, the electrical and computer engineering chairman, are bringing resources together that will evolve, develop and advance photovoltaic technology, which holds the promise of maintaining an energy-intensive standard of living while not contributing to global warming and pollution.

The Deals live in Holden Beach, N.C.  

June 18, 2008
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Reifsnider to head USC's energy research center

Ken Reifsnider, a University of South Carolina professor of mechanical engineering, has been named director of the Future Fuels Center, effective July 1, the university announced today. 

The center will coordinate all of USC’s energy research programs.

Reifsnider also directs the Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell Program, which will become a Center of Economic Excellence when matching funds are in place.

"There's quite a bit of energy research being conducted at Carolina, so the Future Fuels Center is really a university-wide initiative to focus those efforts," Reifsnider said. "We're going to promote all of the Centers of Economic Excellence that are related to energy, as well as our research programs in solar, nuclear engineering, clean coal, biomass and environmental sustainability. The center will also be a mechanism for fundraising for our energy research initiatives."

The center will:

-- promote and help to raise funds for three Centers of Economic Excellence that focus on hydrogen storage, catalytic materials and hydrogen production; developing laboratories for the Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell Program, including recruitment of four or more faculty members;

-- recruit three faculty members for photovoltaic energy research;

-- develop a new degree program in nuclear engineering and recruit three new faculty members;

-- develop the Center for Clean Coal Research and recruiting two new faculty members;

-- and develop the university's biomass and environmental sustainability research.

June 06, 2008
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ATC, Texas College receive $69K grant for hydrogen plan

Senior writer

Aiken Technical College and Texas State Technical College Waco have received a $69,000 National Science Foundation planning grant to develop a strategic plan for hydrogen energy workforce development.

That's just one component of ATC's efforts to be out front on an emerging hydrogen economy. The adoption of hydrogen energy technologies by Aiken-based industries and others throughout the nation present many opportunities for economic development, ATC President Dr. Susan Winsor said in a press release. "However, these opportunities will challenge technical training programs to educate the workforce in a field where technologies are rapidly emerging," Winsor said. "This NSF grant will help ATC, TSTC Waco and technical educators across the nation understand how to best meet the needs of the dynamic and growing hydrogen economy."

Aiken Technical College is also the first college in South Carolina to offer a curriculum that will focus on repairing and retaining future clean-fuel vehicles, including those powered by hydrogen.

ATC has teamed with Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation and Roush Industries to introduce the curriculum.
In addition, the Economic Development Partnership, URS Washington Division and the Center for Hydrogen Research (CHR) have helped purchase the first hydrogen-powered vehicles available to consumers for use in Aiken County.

ATC will use it to teach students about hydrogen-based vehicles and others that run on natural gas and propane. "This is a vehicle that a normal person could buy," said CHR director Fred Humes. "We purchased it so people could see that this technology is real and it works."

ATC has introduced several courses related to the hydrogen economy, said Dr. Tracy Pierner, the technical education dean. The college has targeted programs and certain courses where that curriculum fits in, he said.

The NSF planning grant is huge for Aiken Technical College, said Pierner. "This gives us the money to write a proposal to implement a regional technology center at ATC," he said. "It would be part of the advanced technological centers that are an NSF initiative. ATC and the Texas State Technical College are the partners in this grant."

Aiken County has underwritten the funding of the Center for Hydrogen Research. The 60,000-square-foot facility will host much of the hands-on training for related ATC programs.

Contact Rob Novit at rnovit@aikenstandard.com.   

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