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Innovation & Commercialization

Center of Economic Excellence



Award Amount

$5 million

External Funding Above Match

$19.8 million

Research Focus

The innovation, commericalization, and new venture development of research in the SmartState Centers, leading to technology commercialization and transfer activities in collaboration with business organizations and public sector stakeholders.

University Partner

University of South Carolina

Private Sector Partner

Fluor Foundation and Savannah River

Nuclear Solutions LLC

The Hydrogen Economy Center of Economic Excellence is part of the University of South Carolina’s (USC) larger Future Fuels® Initiative, which is expanding the school’s expertise in fuel cells and alternative energy. This Center will conduct research to develop hydrogen storage materials and sensors for fuel cells. Fuel cells produce electricity from hydrogen and hydrogen-rich carbon fuels without thermal combustion and are more efficient for power generation than existing coal and natural gas technology. 

One startup company, Hydrogen Hybrid Mobility, has been created through associated work of the Center. 

Along with other components of the Future Fuels® Initiative, the Hydrogen Economy Center will be housed in the Horizon Center, a $55 million public-private facility at USC Innovista. The chairs for these Centers will work with public and private sector alliances such as the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Alliance and the Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative. USC presently has the nation’s only National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) for Fuel Cells, which was renewed in 2009 for five years. 

As a part of this renewal, the I/UCRC has become a multi-university endeavor with the addition of the University of Connecticut and five member companies: IBM, Fuel Cell Energy, Northeast Utilities Foundation, Siemens, and D‐Star Engineering. These Centers have international collaborations with the Korea Institute of Energy Research and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy in Germany.

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