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The Trailblazer award recognizes an organization that has created a cutting-edge product or service. This year, we are proud to recognize the Clemson University Restoration Institute (CURI) for their efforts to Build a sustainable future through education, collaborative restoration research and strategic partnerships.
Established in 2004, CURI is an interdisciplinary model established to drive economic growth by creating, developing and fostering restorations industries and environmentally sustainable technologies in South Carolina. The Institute is attracting world-renowned faculty, students and staff dedicated to creating a knowledge-based, export-oriented industry cluster that will partner with other institutions and the private sector to position South Carolina as the premier home of restoration knowledge and expertise. This interdisciplinary collaborative model between industry and academia prepares the workforce for new jobs in sustainable technologies.
In 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded Clemson University a $45 million dollar grant to build and operate a wind turbine facility. The facility was a unique way to forge public-private partnerships while supporting the nation’s emerging offshore wind industry and educating the workforce of the future. In 2010, Clemson University broke ground on the Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility (WTDTF) in North Charleston.
CURI also joined with SCE&G and Duke Energy to dedicate the world’s most advanced energy systems testing and research center, the SCE&G Energy Innovation Center in Novemeber, 2013. The center is home to the Duke Energy eGRID (Electrical Grid Research Innovation and Development) Center, which is able to simulate the electrical grid of any country in the world. Clemson is using this facility to play an important role in updating our nation’s electrical grid.
The SCE&G Energy Innovation Center, the Duke Energy eGrid (electrical grid research innovation and development center) the Warren Lasch Laboratory are applied research centers focused in energy systems, smart grid technology, advanced materials and water ecology. The Zucker Family Graduate Education Center, financed in part by a $5 million gift from the Zucker Family, is underway. Scheduled to open in 2016, the center will offer graduate and post graduate degree programs in the engineering fields, further advance South Carolina’s success and economic vitality.