|EERC dedicates National Center for Hydrogen Technology facility|
The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) dedicated its new $3.5 million building for the National Center for Hydrogen Technology (NCHT) Sept. 8.
The dedication ceremonies included welcome remarks by EERC Director Gerald Groenewold, President Robert Kelley, and North Dakota University System Chancellor Bill Goetz. Gov. John Hoeven and Sen. Byron Dorgan spoke about the history of the building and the NCHT program. Other honored guests included Sen. Kent Conrad, Rep. Earl Pomeroy, Grand Forks Mayor Michael Brown, and East Grand Forks Mayor Lynn Stauss.
Ground was broken April 17, 2006, on the 15,000-square-foot NCHT facility, which is designed to significantly enhance the strategic research, development, testing, and commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies at the EERC. It includes specialized state-of-the-art equipment to provide solutions for the world's growing energy needs and, at the same time, opportunities for regional economic growth. The building was constructed with $2.5 million in funding from the North Dakota Centers of Excellence Commission, $500,000 from the City of Grand Forks, and another $500,000 from the EERC.
"This project provides a great model for how our Centers of Excellence program can work to create employment and economic development opportunities in North Dakota," Hoeven said. "In partnerships with the private sector, the EERC is leading the way to develop the hydrogen fuel technology of the future. Their research will work to produce hydrogen from fossil and renewable fuels and use hydrogen in combustion engines and turbines to help our nation achieve greater energy independence and security."
"The NCHT facility provides a cornerstone to address this nation's enormous challenge of developing new technologies to guarantee the country's energy security for the long-term," said Groenewold. "Hydrogen is not only a key bridge to energy security, but also a key solution to managing our carbon footprint."
The EERC was designated the NCHT in 2004 and was awarded a package of federal dollars designated by Sen. Byron Dorgan in recognition of over 50 years of hydrogen research involving fossil and renewable energy. The NCHT is one of the EERC's ten Centers of Excellence.
"This is another very exciting milestone for the Red River Valley Research Corridor," Sen. Dorgan said. "I created the NCHT at the EERC through federal funding I added in Congress to help expand research into hydrogen energy technology and to do it right here in North Dakota. Hydrogen energy technology is on the horizon as a way to help curb America's dependence on foreign energy. And, through these investments, North Dakota researchers are fully participating in this national research effort. This state-of-the-art building will provide our researchers with the laboratory space and equipment needed to help break our nation's dependence on foreign oil through advancements in hydrogen technologies.
Sen. Dorgan has used his key positions in Congress to attain $10.85 million to create and fund research at the NCHT and plans to continue to direct federal research dollars to the facility's programs. A reception and self-guided tours of the facility followed the dedication ceremonies. General Motors also provided four Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell vehicles for the public to ride in and drive.