U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp said Tuesday that a fuel cell to be tested in Chattanooga could be used to power a Capitol Hill building to showcase the capabilities of the unit.
“I could see this demonstrated on Capitol Hill,” he told the Chattanooga Enterprise Center’s board.
Rep. Wamp, R-Tenn., said the fuel cell project under way at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has received another $3.5 million in federal funding.
The money will be used to test a larger fuel cell unit that could produce 100 kilowatts of power, he said. Such a unit could be used to take a major Capitol Hill building off the typical electricity grid and power it with the fuel cell, Rep. Wamp said.
He said the building hasn’t been identified yet.
Rep. Wamp believes the nation will return to a focus on energy. Nuclear power is “a huge growth industry” that could produce investments rivaling the $1 billion VW is expected to spend on its new Chattanooga plant, he said.
Wayne Cropp, the Enterprise Center’s president, said the group is fashioning a strategy for the Chattanooga area to benefit from the growth in nuclear energy while working with the Chamber of Commerce.
He said the strategy, expected to be ready in the first quarter of 2009, will look at business recruitment and work force development.
“What assets do we have that we can market to suppliers, vendors and consultants?” Mr. Cropp asked.
Richard Brown, an Enterprise Center board member and UTC’s vice chancellor for finance and operations, expressed concern to Rep. Wamp that TVA’s rate increase prompted a 25 percent hike in mid-year costs for the university.
Rep. Wamp said maybe TVA shouldn’t worry so much about debt reduction in a down economy and rather focus on rates. He said if TVA leads on the nuclear expansion, rates will go lower.
Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...