Groundbreaking for EERC’s $3 Million Hydrogen Facility Set for April 17

6 April 2006 – Construction on the University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center’s (EERC’s) National Center for Hydrogen Technology facility will soon be under way. The EERC will break ground on the $3 million facility April 17.

The 15,000-square-foot facility will allow the EERC to capitalize on the tremendous growth in hydrogen-related projects. The facility will significantly enhance the strategic research, development, testing, and commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and result in 50 to 100 new, high-paying private sector equivalent jobs at the EERC.

“This facility represents a significant partnership between the federal government, the state of North Dakota, the city of Grand Forks, private industry and the EERC and provides a cornerstone to address the nation’s enormous challenge of developing new technologies that will guarantee our energy security for the long term,” said EERC Director Gerald Groenewold.

A 30-foot-high demonstration/testing area will be located inside the building, along with a staging area for vehicle demonstration, a fuel cell testing area, a high-temperature materials lab and other individual labs for a variety of hydrogen production technologies. The building is being designed by Schoen & Associates.

“This building will provide a specialized state-of-the-art facility to provide solutions for the world’s growing energy needs, while at the same time opportunities for regional economic growth,” said Associate Director for Research Tom Erickson.

Funding for the facility is being provided by the North Dakota Centers of Excellence Commission, which awarded the EERC $2.5 million, and the city of Grand Forks, which provided $500,000 in matching funds.

The EERC was designated the National Center for Hydrogen Technology by the U.S. Department of Energy in November of 2004 in recognition of over 50 years of hydrogen research involving fossil and renewable energy. Senator Dorgan secured cornerstone research funding, which has been leveraged by numerous corporate partners.

The EERC has more than $20 million in current hydrogen contracts in place. An additional $20 million of near-term opportunities is in discussion with a variety of sponsors, for a total of $40 million.