Monday, August 08, 2005

Two hydrogen studies? Why none in advanced materials?

Are we playing together well?

Well not in trying to develop strength in what is supposed to be the hydrogen economy. There are two, independent research studies being completed of hydrogen opportunities.

Hydrogen is a big opportunity and we need to address it, especially given that we have the Savannah River National Lab, the NSF Center in Fuel Cells at USC, and the PEM Research Center at Clemson.

But let's not get carried away. Community leaders have recently said, "Most people would agree that hydrogen fuel cells/hydrogen energy represents the greatest opportunity to transform Columbia and S.C.'s economy."

Well, but ... we don’t know what the next fuel will be in coming decades, or how long the shift from hydrocarbons will take. South Carolina has hydrogen research assets, but we are also woefully behind in areas of commercialization that count, so even if hydrogen does win, we do not know if South Carolina can be more than a marginal player.

In the mean time, Michael Porter's recommendation's are that we ought to look first to the industry clusters where we have strength. There is more overlap in industry and academic research in South Carolina today in advanced materials, from the Clemson Advanced Materials Research Lab and the USC NanoCenter to the Michelin Americas Research Corporation and the Milliken Research Corporation, than there is in anything else.

Where isn’t there a study on advanced materials, including advanced textiles? Why don’t we have a major textile OEM stepping up and partnering to create the International Center for Textile Research to compliment the International Center for Automotive Research?

What industry clusters do you think we ought to develop a cluster around? What's in your enlightened self-interest. Leave your comment below.

1 comment:

Tim said...

John, I couldn't agree more about playing to the strengths we already have, especially in the area of textiles. Clemson is already doing impressive work in advanced materials, and we should trumpet that.