College Brings Expertise in Workforce Training to Grow Midlands’ Fuel Cell Economy
Columbia, S.C. – – Today, Midlands Technical College (MTC) announced that it will join the USC-City of Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative, a collaboration of SCRA, EngenuitySC, the University of South Carolina and the City of Columbia, to position Columbia, S.C., as a leader for fuel cell innovation and technology. Dr. Sonny White, MTC President, will join the Collaborative’s executive committee, and Tom Ledbetter, executive director for MTC’s Enterprise Campus, will join the Collaborative’s management team to advise operations. MTC has actively participated with the Fuel Cell Collaborative’s efforts in building Columbia’s
fuel cell economy since its inception in 2006. In August 2008, MTC hosted the Hydrogen Road Tour, a public event that featured ten hydrogen vehicles as part of a cross-country trek of clean, efficient hydrogen vehicles. And in 2009, MTC worked with the Collaborative as a partner of the National Hydrogen Association’s Hydrogen Conference and Expo held in Columbia, S.C., and showcased some of its fuel cell programs.
Currently, MTC houses two fuel cell solutions firms within its state-of-the-art business accelerator located at the MTC Enterprise Campus in northeast Columbia. LOGANEnergy, a leading fuel cell solutions firm, opened its newest mobile power systems facility in June 2011, LOGANEnergy Carolina. Trulite, Inc., relocated to Columbia, S.C. in 2009 and is currently the only fuel cell company to offer both fuel cell and fuel source in one fully integrated system. Trulite recently made national industry news when its Trulite Hydrocell was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to power the tree at its annual holiday party. MTC also uses Trulite products to power its irrigation system on campus.
“Midlands Technical College is proud to officially become a partner of the USC-Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative after years of supporting its mission and furthering the fuel cell economy in the Midlands,” said Dr. Sonny White, President of MTC. “We look forward to bringing the industry and workforce training expertise we have gained from having two fuel cell firms at our facilities to the Collaborative and further enhancing Columbia’s reputation as a global leader of fuel cell solutions.”
In addition to the businesses growing at MTC’s Business Accelerator, the college also has two full-scale labs devoted to the design and fabrication of fuel cell technology and has also pioneered two new training programs, including: the Principles of Alternate Energy Certificate program, addressing the fundamentals of fuel cells and other alternative energy sources; and the Mechanical Engineering Technology Associate Degree. Successful graduates of both programs will be qualified to enter the workforce as medium-level operators, laboratory technicians or senior manufacturing technicians.
“The addition of MTC to the USC-City of Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative strengthens our group and furthers our reputation as the leading force behind Columbia’s fuel cell economy,” said Bill Mahoney, CEO of SCRA, one of the Collaborative’s original charter members. “MTC’s training expertise will help the Collaborative represent all facets of the fuel cell industry – from research to development to deployment in the field.”
MTC joins the Collaborative as it prepares to launch the next iteration of its Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge, an award-winning business-plan competition designed to support the commercialization of innovative fuel cell technologies. The 2010 winner, Weylchem Sustainable Materials, is working on a pilot project producing ammonia borane, a multi-purpose compound that can be used to efficiently power fuel cell devices among other commercial uses, at its facility in Elgin, S.C. The Collaborative will release final contest details for the 2012 Challenge by the end of March.
About Midlands Technical College
Midlands Technical College is a comprehensive, multi-campus, public, two-year college serving the primary region of Richland, Lexington and Fairfield counties of South Carolina. The college enrolls approximately 18,000 credit students annually, and provides continuing education to 30,000 individuals and hundreds of area businesses each year. MTC is the largest provider of transfer students to the University of South Carolina. www.midlandstech.edu
About the USC-City of Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative
The USC–City of Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative was formed by the University of South Carolina, the City of Columbia, EngenuitySC and SCRA, to position Columbia, S.C., 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 to help grow an innovation pipeline from discovery to development to deployment of fuel cell technology. For more information, visit www.fuelcellcollaborative.com.