USC Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative Announces Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge Phase II Awards

March 31, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – March 31, 2008 – The USC Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative announced the Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge Phase II Awards today at the 2008 National Hydrogen Association Conference in Sacramento, California.  The challenge, organized by the University of South Carolina (USC), the City of Columbia, the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA), and EngenuitySC, was created in 2006 as an initiative to collaborate with private sector leaders from all areas of the fuel cell market for the unprecedented deployment of fuel cell and alternative energy technologies into multiple city, university and public applications in Columbia.

The initial phase of the Fuel Cell Challenge funded ten projects across portable power, stationary power and mobility applications, as well as various educational and public outreach initiatives, earning national recognition for its innovative approach in addressing the full spectrum of fuel cell technology initiatives.  Phase II of the Challenge seeks to leverage the successes of Phase I activities to help accelerate the region’s efforts to become one of the premier destinations for hydrogen and fuel cell innovation in the country.  Four proposals were selected for funding from the qualified public and private proposals submitted in response to the Phase II solicitation for a total Phase II projects investment in excess of $1 million.  Phase II project awardees include Trulite, Inc., Boroscience International, Inc., Midlands Technical College, and Millennium Cell/Gecko Energy Technologies. 

Trulite™, Inc., the developer of the KH4™ fuel cell power generator and the Hydrocell™ hydride fuel cartridge, received a Phase II award to conduct a beta test of its KH4™ integrated portable power generator, a 250 watt-off grid power source with applications in emergency preparedness, telecommunications, recreation and in the construction industry.  The award will be used to procure 12 of its KH4™ portable fuel cell generators and 500 Hydrocells™, Trulite’s dry chemical hydride fuel cartridges for the power units.  The 12 KH4™ beta generators will be deployed with the City of Columbia emergency responders, the USC College of Engineering, local start-up fuel cell companies (Palmetto Fuel Cell Technologies and Sequentus), and other potential government and commercial end users.  “Trulite is excited to be a part of the Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge in our project to provide a full scale demonstration program with our KH4™ portable power generator and our Hydrocell™ cartridges,” said Ken Pearson, Trulite’s Chief Operating Officer. “Trulite’s Hydrocell™ and KH4™generator produces clean power from a safe and recyclable energy source. Simply plug in two Hydrocells™ into the KH4™, and you instantly have up to 250 watts of power.”  For additional information about Trulite and its clean, quiet, safe, and lightweight portable KH4™ generator, visit

Boroscience International, Inc., a Columbia-based startup company, has been awarded a Phase II grant to develop an initial on-site production capability for two solid source boron hydrogen compounds that have applications as a fuel source for portable fuel cell applications as well as other high value industrial applications.  Funds from the grant will be used to provide transitional laboratory and production facilities and to hire a post-doctoral and one additional assistant, enabling Boroscience to transition out of the USC Columbia Technology Incubator and into Innovista. The award will help launch the commercial business of Boroscience, enabling the company to establish its products in the existing, international market.  Bernard F. Spielvogel, Ph.D., Boroscience founder and president, stated “with our company’s emphasis on boron containing solid source hydrogen compounds, this region is ideal for our growth and service to the hydrogen economy.”  The success of Boroscience will have a positive impact on the region’s ability to collaborate with other companies in the portable fuel cell space.  To find out more about Boroscience and the diverse applications of boron and its compounds, visit

Midlands Technical Colleges (MTC) received a Phase II award to enhance its Next Generation Fuel Cell Technology Program, a workforce development program that will serve the needs of the growing hydrogen and fuel cell industry.  The Phase II award will help the college expand its facilities by adding two additional fuel cell laboratories.  MTC is building a fuel cell subsystems lab and a commercial-variety analytical testing lab, both of which are expected to be operational within a year.  “To attract businesses to Columbia that produce and utilize fuel cells, we need to offer them a trained workforce,” said Dr. Marshall (Sonny) White, Jr., MTC President.  Neil McLean, Executive Director of EngenuitySC, said “The MTC fuel cell program will further strengthen the region’s growing pipeline of market-based resources for attracting and retaining the nation’s top hydrogen and fuel cell companies.”  For more information about MTC, visit

Millennium Cell Inc., a leading developer of hydrogen battery technology, received a Phase II award to perform a market test of its newest product offering, an LED light and device charger.  Gecko Energy Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Millennium Cell, will market test the product, which uses Millennium Cell’s PowerSkin™ fuel cells and Hydrogen on Demand® fuel system, to provide emergency power to small, portable devices such as lighting, cell phones and PDAs.  “We are very pleased to establish a base of operations for the commercialization of Gecko products in Columbia and to receive support from the city and a number of South Carolina agencies to conduct this market test,” said Adam Briggs, president of Millennium Cell.  Gecko’s long-term opportunities involve establishing manufacturing operations, product roll-out and workforce expansion in South Carolina to develop and manufacture PowerSkin™ fuel cell products.  Initially, Gecko will establish several employees in Columbia, S.C. with potential for future job growth as manufacturing and production expand.  To learn more about Gecko and the applications of PowerSkin™ technology, visit

“These projects provide an outstanding demonstration of economic development win-win outcomes that arise from successful partnerships and collaborations, said Bill Mahoney, president and CEO of SCRA.  Mahoney further stated that each of these awards represents a victory in our efforts to grow the knowledge economy in the Columbia region.

The activities of the Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge and its award recipients are advancing the vision of the fuel cell technology innovation pipeline that will launch the Columbia region into a position of leadership within the industry.  For more information on the Greater Columbia Fuel Cell Challenge, visit the Challenge website at

About the USC Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative

The University of South Carolina – City of Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative was formed by the University of South Carolina, the City of Columbia, EngenuitySC and the South Carolina Research Authority to position Columbia, SC 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.

About the University of South Carolina

The University of South Carolina is dedicated to building the knowledge economy in South Carolina by attracting the world’s top
professors, scientists, students and entrepreneurs to Columbia, SC.  Through its new Innovation district called Innovista, the University is supporting research initiatives in nanotechnology, health sciences, Future Fuels™, the environment, and information and knowledge technologies.  For more information, visit:

About the City of Columbia

The City of Columbia is as rich in cultural heritage and history is it is with talent and opportunity.  The City of Columbia is dedicated to the advancement of the knowledge economy in the midlands region through its partnership in the USC Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative, its award winning technology incubator, and its commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation.  The city fully supports the creation of the first integrated fuel cell district in the country and is committed to making Columbia a business friendly environment for innovative companies.  For more information, visit:

About EngenuitySC

EngenuitySC is an active public/private sector partnership focused on nurturing the growth of a knowledge-based economy in the Columbia, SC region.  Comprised of business and industry leaders, along with representatives from local government and academia, EngenuitySC strives to create a fertile business climate that: encourages entrepreneurship and the commercialization of ideas and technology, harnesses the research breakthroughs of higher education institutions, establishes public policy that is sensitive to the unique needs of knowledge-based companies, and promotes access to start-up investment capital.  For more information, visit:

About SCRA

SCRA is a global leader in applied research and commercialization services with offices in Anderson, Charleston, and Columbia.  SCRA collaborates to advance technology with industry, government, and research universities like Clemson University, the University of South Carolina and the Medical University of South Carolina.  For more information, visit:

About SC Launch!

SC Launch!, an SCRA collaboration, assists entrepreneurial start-up companies with up-front counseling, seed-funding, and access to a powerful resource network.  The SC  Launch! mission is to help generate knowledge economy jobs in South Carolina, enhance the state’s quality of life and provide opportunity for all South Carolinians in the new economy.  For more information, visit: