A wind tower will be erected at the site of the old Charleston Naval base in South Carolina later this month, in a research programme designed to establish whether wind power could be used to fuel a hydrogen fuel cell factory.

Hydrogen is currently one of the biggest buzz words in the domain of alternative energy sources and the main purpose of the tower will be to determine whether enough wind blows in the region to feasibly support a power plant.

Encouraged by President Bush, hydrogen power is seen as the future of cleaner and eco-efficient energy sources and the US government offers large grants and tax breaks to states and facilities that invest in researching and advancing hydrogen power.

Local weather experts believe it is possible that there is enough natural airstream to make and sustain a wind-powered hydrogen factory plant, though the subject of alternative energies is approached with caution by research authority CEO, Bill Mahoney, who comments, $quot;I don't think we're ever going to go completely wind-powered, completely solar-powered, completely hydrogen-powered. There's not going to be any one 'silver bullet.' We're all going to have different devices and different technologies over the next 20 years. This gives us an opportunity to see from the ground up if there is anything here that can contribute.$quot;