University of South Carolina

USC researchers brief U.S. Energy Secretary Chu

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu toured the University of South Carolina’s Horizon Building and was briefed by several of USC’s top energy and fuel cell researchers Tuesday (Aug. 23).

Chu’s visit was part of a daylong visit to the Midlands that also included a stop in Orangeburg.

Accompanied by U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, Chu met with USC President Harris Pastides, Dr. Shannon Baxter-Clemmons, executive director of the S.C. Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance, local entrepreneurs, and USC’s researchers.

Pastides said the meeting was an opportunity to give Chu an overview of fuel cell and energy research at USC and the state's leading role in promoting the hydrogen economy and future fuel sources nationally and globally.

“Our discussions were very fruitful,” Pastides said. “Here at USC, we have created a core of top researchers who are doing innovative work in fuel cells, alternative energy sources, and strategic approaches to electricity generation.”

Pastides said Chu heard about the university's diverse energy research portfolio and student-led efforts to create a sustainable campus.

Chu toured the lab of Dr. Brian Benicewicz, whose research on fuel cells has been commercialized by BASF, the world’s largest chemical company. Benicewicz, who holds the SmartStateTM endowed chair in the Center of Polymer Nanocomposites, and his team are creating membranes for fuel cells that are already being used in portable power generators by the U.S. military and in other commercial applications.

Earlier, Chu met with USC researchers Dr. Ken Reifsnider, who holds the SmartStateTM endowed chair in the Center for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells, and Dr. Jochen Lauterbach, holder of the SmartStateTM endowed chair in the Center for Strategic Approaches to Generation of Electricity.

Dr. Pam Benicewicz, USC associate vice president for research, said the day was an excellent opportunity to showcase the collaborative entrepreneurial and research initiatives in the Midlands.

“USC, the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance and leaders from across the state came together to introduce Secretary Chu to our research, commercialization and education initiatives in the field of energy research. It was a great day.”

News and Internal Communications

Posted: 08/23/11 @ 10:00 PM | Updated: 08/24/11 @ 6:02 AM | Permalink