Jan 19 2006

Graham Meets with Auto Industry Leaders to Discuss South Carolina’s Hydrogen Research Efforts

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) last week traveled to the Detroit Auto Show to meet with manufacturers and discuss South Carolina’s role in producing the next-generation automobile. Graham is a co-chair of the Senate Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Caucus along with Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND). Graham told automotive industry leaders that South Carolina is on the cutting-edge of hydrogen research and hydrogen holds the potential to be the new fuel of the 21st Century. In addition, Graham noted the environmental benefits of hydrogen as a clean source of energy. “What Detroit was to the automotive industry, South Carolina can be to hydrogen,” said Graham. “My message to the CEO’s was that as a nation we need to become less dependent on foreign oil. To help us achieve that goal, it’s my hope the next generation of automobiles will be hybrids not solely dependent on gasoline as a fuel source.” “It would be irresponsible if 50 years from now we’re still reliant on Middle Eastern oil to drive our national economy,” said Graham. “We need to get away from fossil fuels and start looking at using different sources of energy such as hydrogen to power our automobiles.” South Carolina is a national leader in hydrogen research. The University of South Carolina is developing hydrogen fuel cells, Clemson is working on hydrogen vehicles and the Savannah River Site is a leading research facility in hydrogen storage and technology. In addition, these groups and others recently united behind the South Carolina Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association which coordinates the state’s efforts to be a leading player in the emerging hydrogen economy. “All the automobile manufacturers understood the importance of hybrid cars but right now there is no consensus in the industry on how they will develop,” said Graham. “Congress may need to assist this development by offering additional tax incentives and setting attainable standards for manufacturing. The future will be dominated by cars that don’t solely run on gasoline and the sooner we can make progress in that area the better.” #####