EERC Awarded $2.5 Million for New Hydrogen Facility

October 20, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

The Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC, Grand Forks, ND) at the University of North Dakota (UND) was approved for a $2.5 million award from the North Dakota Centers of Excellence Commission to build a new facility for the EERC's National Center for Hydrogen Technology. The $3 million, 15,000 ft² facility is dedicated to the development and commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, is expected to create between 50 and 100 new high-paying technical jobs, and attract $50 million in research contracts in the short term. It will be built to the west of the current EERC facilities on the UND campus.

"This award recognizes the value that the EERC holds in offering hundreds of quality jobs, partnerships with industry, and opportunities to spin off high-tech businesses in our region," said EERC Director Gerald Groenewold. "The EERC's National Center for Hydrogen Technology represents a significant partnership between the federal government, the state, private industry, and higher education, and provides a cornerstone to address this nation's enormous challenge of developing new technologies, which will guarantee this country's energy security for the long term -- the EERC will make North Dakota proud."

The EERC was designated the National Center for Hydrogen Technology by the US Department of Energy (DOE, Washington, DC) in November 2004 in recognition of over 50 years of hydrogen research involving fossil fuels and renewable energy. The EERC submitted a proposal to the Centers of Excellence Commission in May 2005; the application required a two-to-one match of funds from non-state sources, but the EERC's proposal offered a five-to-one match, and over the next five years, it is expected to exceed a 20-to-1 match. The award will be matched with $500,000 from the Grand Forks Growth Fund. Construction on the National Center for Hydrogen Technology facility should begin in spring 2006, with anticipated completion in fall 2006.