SCRA promotes economic growth built around emerging alternative energy technologies. Sustainable energy, waste stream recovery, and manufacturing efficiencies are key focus areas.
National and International Energy Efficiency Research
SCRA manages a Department of Energy applied research program that develops energy-saving technologies and processes for the metalcasting industry. Focus areas include melting efficiency, yield improvement/revert reduction and material properties studies. The program saves 50 trillion BTUs per year, resulting in 400 million gallons of gasoline saved.
An SCRA-led collaboration is investigating solutions for large-scale energy storage systems that will capture energy generated intermittently through renewable sources (solar, wind, other) and make this power available and dispatchable to the power grid upon demand.
SCRA and the Israeli-based Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Initiative have signed an agreement to collaborate on alternative and renewable energy initiatives.
Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Initiatives
SCRA was selected to execute an inter-agency Fuel Cell "Market Transformation" program between the Departments of Defense and Energy that has deployed 10 fuel cell back-up power units at three mission-critical sites at Ft. Jackson, SC. This project earned distinction as a "Palmetto Pillar Award in Green Technology" recipient.
SCRA continues to support the University of South Carolina - City of Columbia Fuel Cell Collaborative, a nationally-recognized leader in promoting fuel cell commercialization through collaborative partnerships with the public, private, university, government and nonprofit sectors. In 2009 this collaboration received the "Innovator Award" from the Southern Policies Growth Board.
SCRA coordinated stakeholders and helped secure funding for a "first-of-its-kind" demonstration project under the National Fuel Cell Bus Program, whereby a hybrid battery-dominant, fuel cell transit bus was tested in actual university shuttle routes and city transit bus operations.
The Defense Fuel Cell Manufacturing Program is part of SCRA's Next Generation Manufacturing Technology Initiative. The project is focused on raising the technology and manufacturing readiness levels of fuel cell power sources for Department of Defense applications.
SCRA has developed the "I-95 Corridor Revitalization through Clean Energy and Biotechnology Program" to address three targeted areas for improvement and opportunity for this economically depressed region within South Carolina. By combining novel scientific data with state intellectual resources, this SCRA-led consortium hopes to illustrate the concept of biotechnology as a means of economic development. This initiative offers a plan for holistic, meaningful change for the corridor by incorporating new technologies with agriculture and aquaculture as well as bio-remediation in an effort to create jobs and stimulate economic development. Ultimately this program can serve as a national model that demonstrates that the resources of nature can be used to enhance the economy, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, help reduce global warming through the sequestration of CO2 and improve the lives of citizens through the introduction of new industry that leads to job creation.
SCRA's Agriculture Waste-to-Energy Initiative seeks to combine proven anaerobic digester technology with various combined heat and power generation technologies to provide poultry, swine and dairy farmers the ability to become net "green energy" producers while enhancing environmental stewardship through reduced greenhouse gas emissions and contaminant run-off into nearby watersheds.
Entrepreneurial Alternative Energy Initiatives
SC Launch, an SCRA Knowledge Economy program supports early stage alternative energy technologies. Examples include: