November 09, 2010

USC and EngenuitySC Announce Major Federal Award for Fuel Cells

Columbia, S.C. - (October 27, 2010) - Today Congressman James Clyburn joined officials from EngenuitySC, The University of South Carolina, The City of Columbia, and SCRA for a major announcement at the University's Horizon I Future FuelsTM building located on the InnovistaTM campus. Clyburn announced a $3.6 M grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is the research and development office for the Department of Defense, to support research and commercialization of the next generation of fuel flexible fuel cells for portable applications.

"I am an outspoken advocate for alternative energy development, which is why I was eager to support this innovative fuel cell research," said U.S. Congressman Clyburn. "I am very proud that this important research will be conducted in our state and that we will contribute to providing clean energy solutions for our nation," he added.

"We are proud and thankful for Congressman Clyburn's continued leadership in advancing the clean energy industry and for his commitment to the state of South Carolina," said Neil McLean, executive director of EngenuitySC. "This will be a major step toward enhancing the region's innovation and commercialization pipeline for hydrogen and fuel cell technology," he continued.
The project will be an innovative industry/university collaboration involving applied research at the University, product development with private sector partners and technical assistance through ATI, an affiliate of SCRA. The research will work to identify novel fuel cell applications for portable power applications within the Department of Defense (DoD) that can be deployed into both the military and commercial marketplace.

"SCRA is proud to be a founding member of the USC-Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative and looks forward to leveraging its leadership in applied research and commercialization on this project," said Bill Mahoney, CEO of SCRA.

All of the work will be performed in the three new research labs at the Horizon I Future FuelsTM facility on the InnovistaTM campus, with more than $1 M of investment in Horizon I's world class facilities and equipment. Five new research, engineering and post-doc staff from the Future FuelsTM team will be added to the project.

The project will be led by three of the University's endowed chairs: Dr. Brian Benicewicz, endowed chair for polymer nanocomposites; Dr. Jochen Lauterbach, endowed chair for strategic environmental approaches to electricity production from coal; and Dr. Kenneth Reifsnider, endowed chair and director of the University's solid oxide fuel cell program. This project will mark the first major research collaboration between these three endowed chairs.

"The University of South Carolina is dedicated to supporting the research and development of future fuels, and we thank Congressman Clyburn for his vision in advancing this mission," said Dr. Harris Pastides, president of the University of South Carolina. "Discovery and innovation are at the heart of the knowledge economy, and USC and Innovista are committed to advancing South Carolina's economic prosperity."

"Building our knowledge-based economy through unique collaborations like this is key to our vision of making Columbia the most talented, educated, and entrepreneurial city in the Southeast if not America," said Steve Benjamin, mayor of the City of Columbia and chair of EngenuitySC.

About EngenuitySC
EngenuitySC is a public/private partnership focused on developing and growing the Columbia, South Carolina's knowledge-based economy. Comprised of leaders from business, government and higher education, EngenuitySC fosters an environment where entrepreneurship, innovation, and the creation of knowledge are fundamental elements of our region's culture, identity, and economic development strategy.

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