photo: University of South Carolina
I have to admit that I was thrilled to see this story as I am a resident of Columbia, S.C. (home to USC) and we aren't often the "the world's first" at much related to the environment. But it's great to see that USC is making moves toward some greener technology for their athletic department especially with something as important as its scoreboard! Though there is still much work to be done and this is mostly an educational exercise, USC is proving that the potential to apply fuel cell technology across the board is there and ready for the taking.
The University of South Carolina has introduced what they say is the world's first fuel cell scoreboard. The university has been focused on researching ways to apply hydrogen fuel cell technology, heading up research on the subject matter for years. With the help of the College of Engineering and Computing, they are now applying it to their scoreboard. Thus far, this is mostly an educational exercise as the scoreboard only partially runs on the fuel cell, with the larger portion of the power still coming from electricity.
How Does the Scoreboard Work?
According to USC, the fuel cell in the scoreboard has tanks of compressed gas used to supply hydrogen to the fuel cell, which generates its power through the reaction of hydrogen with oxygen from the air. It doesn't produce the toxic exhaust of other forms of power with the only byproduct being water. The fuel cell is also recycled serving formerly as the backup power to a cell-phone tower.
The school is also working on a fuel-cell-powered bus to be on site for the National Hydrogen Association Conference and Hydrogen Expo to be held in Columbia next month.