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Why Pittsburgh?

Connecting the Past, Present and Future

City of Pittsburgh skyline at night
Downtown Pittsburgh skyline at night

Pittsburgh is the ideal setting for the DC HEaRT and the Business of Humanity® projects. Once known for its steel mills, the Pittsburgh of today is defined by its world-class universities, its vibrant arts and culture scene, and an economic resurgence led by the health care, financial services, technology, and manufacturing sectors. Pittsburgh also boasts a budding innovation ecosystem, supported by the cooperative spirit that exists between the public and private sectors.

Pittsburgh was central to the development of electricity, and will help shape its future through the DC HEaRT project. In the 1880s, Pittsburgh’s adopted son George Westinghouse and inventor Nikola Tesla battled with Thomas Edison, of New Jersey, in the war of the currents. Westinghouse and Tesla supported alternating current (AC) power, whereas Edison supported direct current (DC) power. Ultimately, AC power prevailed, largely due to its ease of transmission over long distances and the use of transformers to covert the power loads. Thus, as Pittsburgh helped write the first chapter in the history electricity, it will write the next one, changing the story in favor of DC power.

Leader in Education and Research

The DC HEaRT project will take advantage of the Pittsburgh region’s strong infrastructure in higher education and manufacturing. The area is home to more than a dozen colleges and universities, and as a result its population is among the most educated in the U.S. in terms of the proportion of people holding bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Every year, the University of Pittsburgh is among the top recipients of federal research grants and it has strong programs in business, engineering, medicine, and the sciences. Adjacent to Pitt, is Carnegie Mellon University, another world-renowned university.

Pittsburgh’s universities work closely with the business community, which has a proud manufacturing heritage. U.S. Steel, Alcoa, PPG Industries, Westinghouse, and Kennametal have significant operations in the greater Pittsburgh region. The companies make innovative products across a wide range of industries. The addition of companies with expertise in DC power would be a welcome addition to the city’s manufacturing base.

The goal of the DC HEaRT project is to make the Pittsburgh region a cluster for manufacturing companies associated with DC technology. To that end, the project will promote startups by identifying opportunities and by offering manufacturing, management and technical support related to DC technology. As the DC power systems developed by the project become established — for example, the solar greenhouses and microgrid technologies — it will be franchised across the United States and world.