COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Fort Jackson was recognized as a leader in green technology in the Midlands for the installation of hydrogen fuel cells as back-up power in three on-post facilities.

The installation was awarded the 2009 Palmetto Pillar Award for Green Technology Initiatives in a ceremony Aug. 20. The award recognizes a Midlands-area green technology-based project and is presented by the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce Information Technology Council.

"It's a recognition by the local community as we work to pursue the promise of alternative energy," said Scott Nahrwold, deputy garrison commander. "It's a pleasure for us to be able to participate in a small way in that effort, and we really appreciate the initiatives on the part of the Department of Energy, the South Carolina Research Alliance, the city of Columbia and the state of South Carolina for all that they've done in cooperation with us to bring this particular project to reality here at Fort Jackson."

The 10 hydrogen fuel cells were installed earlier this year as primary back-up power at the Directorate of Information Technology, the Directorate of Emergency Services and the Energy Management Control Center.

Because hydrogen is a byproduct that can be easily captured as waste from various commercial plants, the catalyst of the fuel cell energy is free, with no wasted energy. There are also no emissions from the fuel cell-generated electricity.

Organizations and companies are nominated for the award by professionals in the information technology field.

Fort Jackson was nominated by Jesus RosaVelez, DOIM director, whose organization received six of the hydrogen fuel cells.

"I believe in green technology applications that are both economically viable and environmentally sound. The fuel cells installed at Fort Jackson fit those categories,"
RosaVelez said. "I did not hesitate to nominate the installation and take great pride that we actually won the award, which shows recognition of our commitment by the community."