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iPIPE Partnership Welcomes New Member: TC Energy

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The Intelligent Pipeline Integrity Program (iPIPE) announced the addition of TC Energy to its list of participating members. iPIPE is an industry-led partnership whose focus is to advance new technologies to prevent and detect pipeline leaks.

By joining iPIPE, TC Energy will join the increasing ranks of company members that actively participate in technology development efforts of the program that will foster new approaches in improving pipeline integrity.  “TC Energy is committed to operating the safest asset base in North America, using technology and advanced analytics to achieve that goal,” said Leslie Kass, Executive Vice President, Technical Center for TC Energy.

“The addition of yet another major player such as TC Energy signals industry’s continued interest in applying every tool possible to operate pipelines with zero spills,” said iPIPE program manager, Jay Almlie. “iPIPE members all share the same goals and perspectives on steering this program to achieve the goal of continuing the high level of safety associated with this industry, and leading the world in fostering new tools to do so.”

TC Energy join several other partners in iPIPE, including Dakota Access Pipeline, DCP Midstream, Enbridge, Equinor, Goodnight Midstream, Hess Corp., Oasis Midstream Partners, Marathon Petroleum ONEOK, and Whiting Petroleum. iPIPE is managed by the Energy & Environmental Research Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota. For more information about iPIPE, visit www.ipipepartnership.com

iPIPE Welcomes New Consortium Member: Dakota Access Pipeline


GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The Intelligent Pipeline Integrity Program (iPIPE) announced the addition of Energy Transfer to its list of participating members. iPIPE is an industry-led partnership whose focus is to advance new technologies to prevent and detect pipeline leaks.

By joining iPIPE, Energy Transfer will actively participate in technology development efforts of the program that will foster new approaches in improving pipeline integrity. “Dakota Access Pipeline is excited to help steer the efforts of this program, and expects that the outcomes of this unique program will result in an even greater record of safe operations across the entire pipeline industry,” said Vicki Granado, vice president of Corporate Communications for Energy Transfer, the operator of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“The addition of a major player such as Energy Transfer signals industry’s continued interest in looking over the horizon for every tool possible to operate pipelines with zero spills,” said iPIPE program manager, Jay Almlie. “We welcome all small and large pipeline operators in steering the efforts of this program.”

Energy Transfer joins several other partners in iPIPE, including DCP Midstream, Enbridge, Equinor, Goodnight Midstream, Hess Corp., Oasis Midstream Partners, Marathon Petroleum ONEOK, and Whiting Petroleum. iPIPE is managed by the Energy & Environmental Research Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota. For more information about iPIPE, visit www.ipipepartnership.com


EERC Welcomes Jessica Wick

Jessica Wick is a Geoscientist at the EERC, where she interfaces with a diverse team of scientists and engineers to assess project uncertainties in oil and gas development and geologic CO2 storage. Her work includes developing geophysical models of the subsurface, performing regional geological characterization and petrophysical analyses of geophysical well log data, and evaluating geologic core samples. She holds a B.S. degree in Geological Engineering with a specialty in petroleum from UND.

“It is great to be encouraged to learn and to ask about areas that I’m not an expert in. It has widely expanded my knowledge,” said Jessica. She was employed at the EERC as a student for six months in 2019, which she credits with her interest in joining our team full-time. “My time as a student showed me that the EERC is a place where you can grow and be a valued member of the team. The employees are friendly and truly care about each other.” 

Jessica grew up in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with two brothers and an adopted sister from China. Although she doesn’t have family in Grand Forks, she does have two dogs, two cats, a bearded dragon, and a snake. In her free time, she enjoys weightlifting, snowboarding, and traveling.

Red Trail Energy Hosts Open House in Richardton

Red Trail Energy, LLC CEO Gerald Bachmeier
presents to community members. 
RICHARDTON, N.D. – Red Trail Energy, LLC (RTE) recently hosted an open house event at the American Legion in Richardton. Approximately 40 community members attended to hear about the latest developments on a local carbon capture and storage (CCS) project.

With the support of the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), RTE is investigating CCS technology as a way to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions associated with ethanol production. Reducing emissions enables ethanol producers to be more competitive in states that have low-carbon fuel programs, such as California. CCS technology captures and permanently stores carbon dioxide emissions.

RTE CEO Gerald Bachmeier gave a presentation about the project and answered questions from community members. Scientists and engineers from the University of North Dakota (UND) Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) provided information about RTE’s seismic survey results and the suitability of the geology at the site to permanently store carbon dioxide. 

“Using CCS to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of our ethanol ensures the long-term viability of RTE in a highly competitive global market," said Bachmeier. “We are excited to continue our partnership with the EERC in this investigation, and we are very appreciative of the community support thus far.”

Next steps for the RTE CCS Project involve further studying the deep rock layers at the RTE site and obtaining necessary permits and regulatory compliance for safe and permanent carbon dioxide storage. 

EERC Principal Policy and Regulatory Strategist
Kevin Connors explains CCUS storage layers.
Questions about the project can be directed to:

Dustin Willett, RTE Chief Operating Officer
(701) 974-3308, dustin@redtrailenergy.com

Nikki Massmann, EERC Communications Director 
(701) 777-5428, nmassmann@undeerc.org

EERC Welcomes Dawn Zahradka

Dawn Zahradka is a Building Services Technician at the EERC, where she cleans and maintains specific areas of the EERC building complex.

“My coworkers are the best. I felt welcomed and like part of the team from the start,” said Dawn. She has worked custodial jobs in the past and brings many years of experience to the EERC. 

Dawn was born and raised in the country outside of Grand Forks. She always had a knack for working on vehicles and also spent time cleaning scrap metal for her dad. Dawn loves spending time with her children and grandchildren and enjoys their unique senses of humor.

EERC Welcomes Daisy Selvaraj

Dr. Daisy Selvaraj has joined the EERC as a Research Engineer, where she supports business development activities related to grid integration of renewable energy systems and batteries, grid modeling and simulation/data processing, and asset management. In addition, she holds a teaching position in the Department of Electrical Engineering at UND. Daisy holds a Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belagavi, India; an M.E. degree in High-Voltage Engineering from the College of Engineering Guindy, Anna University, Tamilnadu, India; and a B.E. degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the Bharathidasan University, India. She is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Indian Society for Technical Education. Daisy has authored over 30 technical publications for peer-reviewed journals and conferences and is currently a reviewer for the journal, IEEE Access.

Daisy grew up in a small town called Tiruchirapalli in the state of Tamilnadu, India, where she lived for nearly 26 years. She lived there for nearly 26 years and went to school in Tiruchirapalli as well. Her parents and siblings still reside there. After marrying her husband, David, she moved to Bengaluru, a larger city in India known for being one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country. Daisy worked as a Postdoc at the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UND before joining the EERC. 

“As a Research Engineer at the EERC, I have found unlimited opportunities to learn and address the needs of the energy industry towards making lives better. We are in a landmark moment of contributing to a greener Earth, and the EERC is at the center of energy research. That is what makes my work feel meaningful,” Daisy said. “I always wanted to work for an organization leading the future of the power industry. The EERC is the perfect fit for my career goals that focus on a blend of futuristic and technology-driven research that has immediate relevance to and impact on the power sector.” 

Daisy enjoys spending time with family and friends and being outdoors. She considers her role as a mother to be the most challenging but says it is also one of the most rewarding. She also likes cooking Indian cuisine, especially rice and lentil curry, her favorite meal.

Adding Up the Numbers of a Ground-Breaking Project

In late October, staff at the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) celebrated the success of Project Carbon and thanked engineers and operators for their hard work during the past months. T-shirts that read “I survived Project Carbon 2019” were gifted as a small token of appreciation to the crews that made it happen. As John Kay, EERC Principal Engineer, stated, “There is not another crew in the world who could have done this.”

Project Carbon began in September 2017 as a pre-front-end engineering and design (pre-FEED) study for Project Tundra. Project Tundra is a bold initiative to build the world’s largest carbon capture facility in North Dakota. Innovative technologies are being researched to capture up to 90% of the CO2 emissions from the Milton R. Young Station’s Unit 2 generator – the equivalent of permanently taking 600,000 gasoline-fueled vehicles off the road. 

Four EERC engineers designed the carbon capture system. Following approval, preparation for field work at the EERC began and lasted for 8 months. The carbon capture system was assembled at the EERC in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and tested for 4 weeks before it was finally ready for transport to Minnkota's Milton R. Young Station, a two-unit, lignite coal-based power plant located near Center, North Dakota.

Moving the capture system from Grand Forks to Center required three tractor trailers and 2 months of installation time. It was installed by EERC employees while temperatures dropped well below zero, to nearly -35°F. Over half a mile of piping was installed at the Milton R. Young Station, and more than a dozen on-site changes were implemented.

The carbon capture equipment was operated by 31 people during the 4 months of operation. An additional six people at the EERC spent around 80% of their time in logistical support of field activities.

A single shift of field work involved over 16 hours in a vehicle, which means that over 500 hours were spent in vehicles during testing alone. In total, an estimated 69,259 miles were traveled by EERC employees during this time. All together, they spent more than 750 nights in hotels from the start of assembly through the completion of field testing.

“EERC’s team provided us with invaluable knowledge and expertise through Project Carbon,” said Gerry Pfau, Minnkota’s senior manager of project development. “The carbon capture pilot system installed at the Young Station produced real-world data that will be vitally important as we begin the advanced engineering and design phase of Project Tundra. Working with EERC helped us take another positive step toward making this exciting project a reality.”

The carbon capture equipment was operated for a total of over 2,500 hours, and around 100 metric tons of CO2 was separated from flue gas; enough CO2 to fill 11 million party balloons.

Project Carbon will wrap up at the end of 2019. Project Tundra is now headed to a FEED study, the final engineering step before attempting to secure financing and construction authorization. The project was recently awarded $9.8 million by the U.S. Department of Energy to support the study. 

“The EERC is extremely appreciative of all the time and effort invested by the operations crew to make Project Carbon a success,” said Jason Laumb, EERC Assistant Director for Advanced Energy Systems. “Ground-breaking projects like these are not possible without people who believe in the work they do.”

For more information about Project Tundra, please visit https://www.projecttundrand.com/.


EERC Welcomes Josh Strege

The EERC is pleased to announce that Joshua Strege has rejoined us as a Principal Process Engineer within the Energy Systems group. He leads the process engineering team in process modeling and techno-economic analysis efforts across applied research projects encompassing CO2 capture and transport, advanced power cycle technology development, and other energy conversion technologies.

Josh holds M.S. and B.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering from UND and was an EERC student employee from 2000–2005. Following his time as a student, he worked at the EERC as a Research Engineer for an additional 8 years, 2005–2013, operating equipment for high-pressure gasification as well as designing and operating syngas cleanup and conversion processes, including hot-gas cleanup, cold-gas cleanup, and liquid synthesis. 

Prior to his current position, Josh served as a Project Manager and Senior Engineer at Cirrus Aircraft. He was drawn back to the EERC by the people, the culture, and the variety of work. He said, “The people are the best aspect of being back at the EERC. I look forward to working with many familiar faces and new ones in the years to come.” 

Josh was raised north of Hallock, Minnesota, and attended Lancaster High School. He and his wife have three sons, and in his free time, Josh enjoys biking, skiing, riding his motorcycle, visiting family, and working in his garage.