March 2008

3.31.2008
USC Columbia Announces Greater Fuel Cell Challenge Phase II Awards
(view article)

3.28.2008
South Carolina sends large delegation the US's largest hydrogen conference, will host 2009
(view article)

3.20.2008
FuelCellSouth announces Crystal Flame Innovation Awards Program
(view article)

3.17.2008
Hydrogen Foundation announces Five Hydrogen Design Contest Finalists
(view article)

3.11.2008
State budget | House speaker protects projects
(view article)

3.5.2008
Midlands Tech Expands Fuel Cell Program
(view article)


  March 31, 2008  

USC Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative Announces Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge Phase II Awards

Columbia, SC– The USC Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative announced the Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge Phase II Awards today 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.

About the USC Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative
The University of South Carolina – City of Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative was formed by the University of South Carolina, the City of Columbia, EngenuitySC and the South Carolina Research Authority to position Columbia, SC as a leader in hydrogen fuel cell innovation and technology.  Its mission is to attract private sector partners, top fuel cell scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators to the Columbia region.

About the University of South Carolina
The University of South Carolina is dedicated to building the knowledge economy in South Carolina by attracting the world’s top professors, scientists, students and entrepreneurs to Columbia, SC.  Through its new Innovation district called Innovista, the University is supporting research initiatives in nanotechnology, health sciences, Future Fuels™, the environment, and information and knowledge technologies.  For more information, visit:   www.sc.edu

About the City of Columbia
The City of Columbia is as rich in cultural heritage and history is it is with talent and opportunity.  The City of Columbia is dedicated to the advancement of the knowledge economy in the midlands region through its partnership in the USC Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative, its award winning technology incubator, and its commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation.  The city fully supports the creation of the first integrated fuel cell district in the country and is committed to making Columbia a business friendly environment for innovative companies.  For more information, visit: www.columbiasc.net

About EngenuitySC
EngenuitySC is an active public/private sector partnership focused on nurturing the growth of a knowledge-based economy in the Columbia, SC region.  Comprised of business and industry leaders, along with representatives from local government and academia, EngenuitySC strives to create a fertile business climate that: encourages entrepreneurship and the commercialization of ideas and technology, harnesses the research breakthroughs of higher education institutions, establishes public policy that is sensitive to the unique needs of knowledge-based companies, and promotes access to start-up investment capital.  For more information, visit: www.engenuitysc.com

About SCRA
SCRA is a global leader in applied research and commercialization services with offices in Anderson, Charleston, and Columbia.  SCRA collaborates to advance technology with industry, government, and research universities like Clemson University, the University of South Carolina and the Medical University of South Carolina.  For more information, visit: www.scra.org

About SC Launch!
SC Launch!, an SCRA collaboration, assists entrepreneurial start-up companies with up-front counseling, seed-funding, and access to a powerful resource network.  The SC  Launch! mission is to help generate knowledge economy jobs in South Carolina, enhance the state’s quality of life and provide opportunity for all South Carolinians in the new economy.  For more information, visit: www.sclaunch.org

If you have further questions about the awards, organizations or SC’s participation in the 2008 National Hydrogen Association Conference, or if you would like to schedule a time to speak with a representative of the Fuel Cell Collaborative, please contact me directly at Emily.Brady@cnsg.com or 803.233.2452




March 28, 2008

South Carolina sends large delegation to US’s largest hydrogen conference, will host in 2009

Columba, S.C. – More than 20 high-ranking business and research leaders from across South Carolina are travelling to Sacramento, CA this weekend to attend the National Hydrogen Association’s Annual Conference, the US’s largest of its type.  In 2009, the conference will travel to Columbia, SC, to be hosted by the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance (SCHFCA).

“The National Hydrogen Association’s Annual Conference is a premier outreach event for our state,” said Shannon Baxter-Clemmons, Executive Director of the SCHFCA.  “This year, we have a large group of South Carolina’s business leaders attending to showcase our state’s strengths to the hydrogen and fuel cell community.”

South Carolina’s delegation includes representation from the SCHFCA, the University of South Carolina, Savannah River National Laboratory, the City of Columbia, the Center for Hydrogen Research, the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, the USC Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative, the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau, EngenuitySC, DESA Inc., SCRA and SCLaunch.

The SCHFCA is the premier sponsor of the Hydrogen Education Foundation’s 2007-2008 Hydrogen Student Design Contest, which challenges teams of university-level students from around the world to develop and design hydrogen applications for real-world use.  This year’s theme challenged students to design innovative hydrogen applications for the Columbia Metropolitan Airport.  Twenty-three teams entered the contest and the grand-prize winning team will be announced on March 31 and will present their design during the opening keynote session of NHA’s conference.

“South Carolina is showing very strong support for hydrogen and fuel cell initiatives at every level,” said Baxter-Clemmons.

On a national level, Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) chair the House and Senate Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Caucuses, respectively.  In state, Governor Mark Sanford identified hydrogen and fuel cell markets as a major cluster focus for our state when he formed the South Carolina Competitiveness Initiative, which brings together government, business and academia to capitalize on our state’s existing strengths.

South Carolina has at least a 50-year head start on hydrogen research through the work at the Savannah River National Lab (SRNL) and our state as a whole addresses every aspect of hydrogen and fuel cell deployment.  SRNL and the Center for Hydrogen Research continue to address hydrogen production and storage issues while the University of South Carolina is a nationally recognized leader in fuel cell research.  Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research is quickly becoming the premier automotive research and education facility in the world.  South Carolina State University’s James E. Clyburn University Transportation Center is also uniquely postured to address future needs in transportation. 

South Carolina’s local communities have also shown strong support for hydrogen and fuel cells.  In 2005, Aiken County fully funded the construction of the Center for Hydrogen Research, a $10 million state-of-the-art facility designed to facilitate cooperative research among the Savannah River National Lab, universities and industry.  South Carolina’s cities are showing their support, as well.  The City of Columbia, which unanimously passed a resolution supporting the city’s objective to become a leader in fuel cell innovation, created the Columbia Fuel Cell District with the goal of becoming the model for the deployment of fuel cell technology.

The USC Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative has recently completed its second annual round of project collaborations under the nationally-recognized Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge program.  The challenge will be announcing awards, joint ventures, and collaborative partnerships with firms such as Millennium Cell/Gecko Energy Technologies, Trulite, Inc., Boroscience International, and Midlands Technical College’s Next Generation Fuel Cell Technology Program at the conference.

“The presence we will have at NHA’s conference this year will help us build momentum when the conference comes to South Carolina next year,” said Baxter-Clemmons.

The 2009 National Hydrogen Association Conference and Hydrogen Expo will be held March 30 – April 3 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center in Columbia, SC.

“This conference is the pinnacle event for the industry and Columbia proud to be the host city in 2009,” said Columbia Mayor Robert Coble.  “The National Hydrogen Association’s 20th Annual Conference represents one of the single largest opportunities the Columbia region has for showcasing its emerging leadership position in the global hydrogen and fuel cell economy.”< /font>

The 2009 NHA Annual Conference will continue to demonstrate South Carolina’s long-standing hydrogen and fuel cell expertise.

“Our city is in the midst of a renaissance and has invested time, energy, capital, and passion into pursuing hydrogen and fuel cells as an economic engine for our region,” said Mayor Coble.

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 USC Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative:
The University of South Carolina – City of Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative was formed by the University of South Carolina, the City of Columbia, EngenuitySC and the South Carolina Research Authority to position Columbia, SC as a leader in hydrogen fuel cell innovation and technology.  Its mission is to attract private sector partners, top fuel cell scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators to the Columbia region; as well as to collaborate with private sector leaders from all areas of the fuel cell market for the unprecedented deployment of fuel cell and other alternative energy technologies into multiple city, university and commercial applications throughout the region.  Learn more at: www.fuelcellchallenge.com.

For more information on the National Hydrogen Association and its Annual Conference, please visit www.hydrogenassociation.org or www.hydrogenconference.org.



March 20, 2008
(view original article)

FuelCellSouth announces Crystal Flame Innovation Award Program

COLUMBIA – FuelCellSouth will sponsor the fifth Annual Crystal Flame Innovation Awards April 28-30 at the Hyatt Regency in Greenville. The awards will be presented during its Regional Technology Conference, which will feature fuel cell applications, hydrogen infrastructure and case studies for manufacturers, distribution centers, municipalities and service providers.

Award nominations will be accepted through April 15 for entrepreneurs, researchers and commercial enterprises that are currently engaged in activities that foster growth in the fuel cell marketplace in the Southeast. Finalists for the Crystal Flame Innovation Awards will be recognized at FuelCellSouth 2008 on April 29th.
 


  March 17, 2008

Hydrogen Foundation Announces Five Hydrogen Design Contest Finalists

Winner to be named at the NHA Annual Hydrogen Conference in Sacramento

Washington, DC - March 17, 2008 - Today the Hydrogen Education Foundation announced five finalist teams for the 2007-2008 Hydrogen Student Design Contest: McMaster University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, University of Waterloo, and two teams from Wayne State University. The grand-prize winning team will be announced and present their design at the National Hydrogen Association's Annual Hydrogen Conference 2008 in Sacramento, CA on March 31 during the opening keynote session. Runner-up teams will receive honorable mentions and present their designs to attendees in the Conference Expo Hall.

For this year's Hydrogen Student Design Contest, "Hydrogen Applications for Airports," teams were challenged to use a budget of $3 Million to design the most effective airport hydrogen system that would address the three main challenges for airports today: noise, air pollution and groundwater contamination. Designs are based on the Columbia International Airport in Columbia, SC, but applicable to other airports worldwide. Overall, twenty-three teams registered from countries all over the world including: Canada, China, Guinea, India, Libya, Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States. Elements of the top five designs include systems with waste-to-hydrogen production facilities, hydrogen-powered airport vehicles, back-up and portable power systems, hydrogen fueling stations, on-site production from natural gas, fuel cell power plants, as well as public education centers. Representatives from all five finalist teams will attend the NHA Annual Hydrogen Conference, March 30 - April 3 in Sacramento, CA to present their designs and receive awards during the Awards Luncheon on April 2.

The awards will be presented by the Contest's title sponsor, the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance, who helped develop this year's theme, as well as the U.S. Department of Energy, who served as a sponsor for the third consecutive year. The Contest was additionally made possible through sponsorship from Chevron, Natural Resources Canada, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and American Wind Power and Hydrogen. The Hydrogen Education Foundation is currently looking for sponsors and theme ideas for the 2008-2009 Hydrogen Student Design Contest, now in its fourth year. Although the Contest is traditionally focused on the design only, in past years grand-prize winning designs have attracted funding to actually construct the designs.

If you are interested in supporting the next Hydrogen Student Design Contest, or would like to find out more about the designs from previous years, please visit www.HydrogenContest.org or contact Rex Hazelton at 202-223-5547.

To be present for the grand-prize team's presentation, awards and more at the NHA Annual Conference and Hydrogen Expo, please visit: www.HydrogenConference.org.

CONTACT:
Rex Hazelton,
Hydrogen Education Foundation
hazeltonr@hydrogenassociation.org
202.223.5547 x322

About the National Hydrogen Association and the Hydrogen Education Foundation: The National Hydrogen Association (NHA) is the Nation's premier hydrogen trade organization led by over 100 companies dedicated to supporting the transition to hydrogen. Efforts are focused on education and outreach, policy, safety and codes and standards. Since 1989, the NHA has served as a catalyst for information exchange and cooperative projects and continues to provide the setting for mutual support among industry, research and government organizations. The NHA Conference and Hydrogen Expo is the largest hydrogen conference in the U.S. and the longest running hydrogen conference in the world. www.HydrogenAssociation.org The Hydrogen Education Foundation is the charitable, education-focused arm of the NHA which administers two hallmark programs, the H2 & You outreach program and the Hydrogen Student Design Contest. www.H2andYou.org www.HydrogenContest.org


March 11, 2008
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House speaker protects projects

Spending plan cuts agencies’ funds, but research, economic programs get a pass

By JOHN O’CONNOR - joconnor@thestate.com

While state agencies face across-the-board cuts, a handful of projects supported by House Speaker Bobby Harrell are fully funded in the $7 billion state budget plan that the full House will begin debating today.

One Harrell favorite, $30 million for research university endowed chairs, has been criticized by Gov. Mark Sanford. However, supporters say the program has jump-started automotive research in the Upstate, alternative fuels research ambition in Columbia and medical research at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Another project, an ad campaign promoting S.C. manufacturers, has featured Harrell in its commercials. A third gives tax credits for hydrogen research.

Harrell says the programs are key investments in overhauling the state’s economy that should not be cut despite flat state revenues.

“We will miss the opportunity to be on the cutting edge,” Harrell said. “South Carolina has to focus on its future.”

The House budget proposal would spend 4.5 percent less than last year, mainly due to far less one-time money available for next year.

However, Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer criticized the House spending plan, saying it takes from state savings and fails to ask tough questions, including whether the research programs are producing results.

Sawyer noted the House proposes to use more than $100 million from a Medicaid savings account to pay for other items in the state budget.

The across-the-board cuts, Sawyer added, are a sign spending decisions have not been prioritized by need. “It’s a fair bet the budget has not been scrutinized as it should and the tough choices have not been made.”

House leaders defend using one-time money as a way to prevent even larger budget cuts this year, while they hope the state economy improves. Without using the Medicaid reserves, said state Rep. Tracy Edge, R-Horry, the 2.5 percent budget cuts would have been 10 percent.

But Sawyer said the argument also is about getting the best use of state money. Despite initial promises, Sanford has yet to be convinced of the research programs’ merits.

“People are always talking about the great dividends of these programs,” Sawyer said. “But nobody can quantify them.”

Lewis Gossett, president of the S.C. Manufacturers Alliance, supports funding the programs, even when other budgets are being cut.

The group, which receives the Made in South Carolina funds and runs the advertising campaign, will eventually fund the program entirely with private money. The state money, Gossett said, helped draw in corporate support.

It also was important, Gossett said, to show S.C. residents the state still is at the forefront of manufacturing. Future ads will show research and manufacture of modern fabrics — those used by athletic apparel maker Under Armor are an example — at Clemson University and Milliken.

Likewise, Gossett said, these programs get companies to commit to a state.

“It’s that much easier to get them to expand in the future,” Gossett said. “We have created a magnet for companies to send their future to us.

“In lean times, you don’t cut your sales force.”

Reach O’Connor at (803) 771-8358.


March 5, 2008
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Midlands Tech expands fuel cell program

Midlands Technical College is expanding its Fuel Cell Technician Program on its Beltline campus, and the Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge is backing the initiative with a $62,000 award to the Midlands Tech Foundation.

Tech’s existing fuel cell laboratory, opened in 2006, trains students in basic fuel cell technology. To develop a work force of fuel cell technicians, the college is expanding its facilities to include two additional laboratories.

Midlands Tech is building a fuel cell subsystems lab and a commercial-variety analytical testing lab. The subsystems lab is designed to train technicians in the components and equipment that make up a fuel cell unit. The subsystems lab and the analytical lab are expected to be operational in a year.

“To attract businesses to Columbia that produce and utilize fuel cells, we need to offer them a trained work force,” said Marshall “Sonny” White Jr., Midlands Tech president. “For every scientist or engineer coming out of USC, Midlands Technical College must produce approximately seven technicians to sustain research-based production and innovations. It is vital for (Midlands Tech) to support emerging technology industries such as alternate energy.”

Neil McLean, executive director of EngenuitySC said, “We are excited about the MTC investment. It will help us build the nation’s best hydrogen fuel cell work force right here in South Carolina. Additionally, this program will further strengthen our growing portfolio of market-based resources for attracting and retaining the nation’s top hydrogen and fuel cell companies into our region.”

Fuel cells use hydrogen and oxygen to produce clean energy. The byproducts of fuel cells are heat and water. Unlike traditional means of generating electricity, hydrogen and oxygen-powered fuel cells produce no harmful greenhouse gases, scientists say. Fuel cells can power anything that runs on electricity and can be used to power vehicles, electronic devices, homes, businesses, and many other applications.

— Staff reports

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