Fred Humes, director emeritus of the Economic Development Partnership of Aiken/Edgefield Counties, was the guest speaker for the Senior Men’s Club of Aiken at its October meeting.

Believing in the growth and long range potential of technologies compatible with the experience base of personnel from Savannah River Site, the Applied Research Center was built on part of the 300 acres of the Savannah River Research Campus.

The ARC, a facility of 60,000 square feet built at a cost of $10 million, houses the SNRL Hydrogen Research Technology Lab, the SRNL Energy Materials Research Lab, Hadron Technologies, Greenway Energy, USCA Research Lab and AIST.

Humes was proud to announce that North Augusta now has a fuel cell powered transit bus using hydrogen as its fuel and noted that Bridgestone and Kimberly Clark use fuel cell forklifts in their plants. A hydrogen fueling station is located at Sage Mill Industrial Park to service the needs of industry and fuel hydrogen vehicles. Sage Mill is the only industrial park in the U.S. that supplies hydrogen to its tenants.

A hydrogen powered fuel cell truck seen in the CSRA serves as a “point of the spear” to lead the way for the introduction of hydrogen in areas of permitting, insurance, and addressing public curiosity about the technology. Companies in Germany, Japan and South Korea are moving ahead in collaboration with their governments to develop hydrogen powered over-the-road vehicles. Honda, Toyota, Daimler, KIA, Nissan and Hyundai are involved in the development.

Questioned about the feasibility of hydrogen cars in the USA, Humes said this was a function of population density and infrastructure, but that, for example, a study suggested that just 40 hydrogen stations in South Carolina would support the needs of the state.

Humes spoke of a bright future for this area as the United States and other countries seek to produce new ideas for lower cost, environmentally safe, energy production. “World-class products can only compete on a global footing if there is advanced technology and a highly trained first class workforce. Aiken and Edgefield counties are delivering exactly what the manufacturing sector demands and the world is standing up to take notice,” according to the 2013 “Economic Profile.”

The Senior Men’s Club will have Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell speak at their next regular luncheon meeting on Wednesday. Call 803-226-0338 for reservations or for information about club membership.