SC proves it has what it takes to be green

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- It's full speed ahead for alternative energy development in South Carolina.

"BMW in the Upstate saves money by using fuel cells in their tugs and forklifts," says Director Shannon Baxter-Clemmons of the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance.

That is one example of how this technology is already at work.

Our efforts to produce them and our research activities have grown a lot, says Kenneth Reifsnider with the Center of Economic Excellence (CoEE) in Solid Oxide Fuel Cells.

Reifsnider helped secure $16 million in funding to develop fuel cells at USC TMs Innovista.

Last year, South Carolina was named as one of top five fuel cell states in the country.

I have no doubt that we are laying the groundwork now for South Carolina to become a number one manufacturer of fuel cells, Baxter-Clemmons says.

Officials are only five years into a 20 year strategic plan to develop fuel cell applications, and one of the most rapidly growing sectors in fuel cell innovation is creating portable power.

Reifsnider adds that running cars on fuel cells is the ultimate goal.

Fuel cells are disruptive in the sense that they probably will replace something else, like refrigerators replaced ice boxes, he says, so it will take awhile.

Reifsnider believes fuel cells will power cars in the coming years, and the way the state is moving it will likely be a major competitor in the fuel cell market.