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EERC Projects Receive Honorable Mention at 2019 International Pittsburgh Coal Conference

Several EERC research projects were recently featured at the 2019 International Pittsburgh Coal Conference. Two of them received honorable mentions in the conference’s Best Paper and Poster Awards:

Honorable Mention Technical Poster 

"Rare-Earth Elements (REEs) in U.S. Coal-Based Resources: Sampling, Characterization, and Round-Robin Interlaboratory Study," Bruce C. Folkedahl, Christopher J. Zygarlicke, Carolyn M. Nyberg, Ian K. Feole, Energy & Environmental Research Center University of North Dakota; Steven A. Benson, Microbean Technologies Incorporated; James Hower, University of Kentucky; USA. 

Honorable Mention Technical Paper 

"Pilot Testing of Amine-Based Solvent at Low-Rank Coal-Fired Power System," Jason D. Laumb, Principal Engineer, John P. Kay, David J. Dunham, Bruce C. Folkedahl, University of North Dakota, USA; Keisuke Iwakura, Tatsuya Tsujiuchi, Takashi Kamijo, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, JAPAN; Tim Thomas, Mike Fowler, Osamu Miyamoto, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America Inc., USA. 

A full list of awardees can be found on the International Pittsburgh Coal Conference website.

EERC Welcomes Sai Wang

The EERC is pleased to introduce Dr. Sai Wang, a Petroleum Engineer in the Oilfield Operations Group. He supervises and assists in multiple aspects related to the design and execution of oil and gas field operations, ensuring operations meet the project goals, all regulations, and safety requirements and ensuring the project is completed in accordance with the program.

His principal areas of interest and expertise involve unconventional reservoirs, including reservoir engineering, CO2 enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and storage, production engineering, well stimulation, pipeline design, chemical EOR, analytical chemistry, and geochemistry. 

“Upscaling fundamental knowledge to real-life field applications is challenging in every engineering discipline. I am so proud to be a part of the enterprising team at the EERC, where hard-working experts and professionals make new ideas and inventions happen every day,” Sai said. “Each day we try to build a bridge between those two worlds—that of knowledge and that of the real world of an unconventional formation. That is what is most appealing to me and motivates me.” 

Sai holds a Ph.D. degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of North Dakota and an M.S. degree in Petroleum Engineering from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. He earned his B.S. degree in Applied Chemistry from Hainan University, Haikou, China. 

Originally from China, Sai has lived in the United States for nearly 7 years. He and his wife have a 6-month-old baby boy. They like traveling to new places, especially out in nature. Sai enjoys playing basketball and watching the NBA—he’s a San Antonio Spurs fan. He also likes to go fishing with friends and family. 

Really good food is Sai’s passion. He enjoys cooking traditional Chinese food and loves to search out great food wherever he is. The best restaurant he’s eaten at this year is the Starved Rooster in Minot, North Dakota. Sai has become a connoisseur of buffalo wings, but his favorite food, hands down, is his mum’s home-made dumplings.

Nuverra and EERC Host Tour of BEST Facility

Nuverra Environmental Solutions and the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) recently hosted a tour of the BEST (Brine Extraction and Storage Test) facility in Watford City, North Dakota. Attendees included state lawmakers and industry stakeholders.

Treatment and handling of brine or “high total dissolved solids” waters associated with energy production can be challenging and not readily or economically accomplished using conventional water treatment techniques. These fluids are typically disposed of through geologic injection. The EERC and Nuverra have partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to establish this BEST facility to research ways to not only improve the management of fluid injection (including produced water disposal and CO2 storage) but also to develop technologies to treat those produced waters for beneficial use as an alternative to injecting them into a disposal well. The facility provides a first-of-a-kind site to develop and test water treatment technologies. Ultimately, the results of this work may improve the management and performance of geologic CO2 storage and saltwater disposal, extend the life of injection wells, and provide new sources of water or value-added products for beneficial use. 

“We’re excited to be partnering with the EERC on this important project,” said Steve London, Vice President of Business Development at Nuverra. “This can lead to additional economical options for the industry in dealing with the wastewater by-product of oil and gas production. We are proud to lend our support to technologies that are environmentally sustainable.”

The EERC recently hosted DOE Fossil Energy Secretary Steven Winberg for a tour and discussion of the technology being tested at the BEST site. Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Clean Coal and Carbon Management Lou Hrkman also toured the BEST site, along with North Dakota Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford and U.S. Senator John Hoeven’s Regional Director for western North Dakota, Shari Buck.

“The work we are doing with the BEST project could have far-reaching benefits to North Dakota’s energy industry,” said John Hamling, EERC Assistant Director for Integrated Projects. “The public–private partnership—with support from organizations like Nuverra, DOE, and the EERC—is key to successfully executing integrated projects like the one being conducted at the BEST site.”

Entities interested in working with project partners to develop or demonstrate brine treatment technologies should contact the EERC at

iPIPE Receives Chairman's Stewardship Award

At the 2019 Annual Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) Conference, the Intelligent Pipeline Integrity Program (iPIPE) received the Chairman’s Stewardship Award for Environmental Partnership.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, 2019 IOGCC Chairman, presented the stewardship award to iPIPE at this year’s conference.

“By harnessing the power of technology and public–private partnerships, iPIPE is making great strides toward solutions to the problem of pipeline leaks or spills within the gathering system in our state,” said Governor Burgum, who also chairs the North Dakota Industrial Commission. “We appreciate IOGCC members for recognizing the efforts made by industry and the Industrial Commission to address this important issue through innovation, and congratulations to all of the program partners.”

Since its inception in 1935, the IOGCC has voiced the need for sound oil and natural gas environmental policy. In 2001, the Commission initiated the annual Chairman's Stewardship Awards, which represent the Commission's highest honor for exemplary efforts in environmental stewardship. The awards recognize achievement and challenge organizations, companies, and individuals nationwide to demonstrate innovation, dedication, and passion for our environment.

IOGCC membership comprises governors of oil and gas-producing states, as well as appointed representatives. Other affiliates include the Dept. of Energy, Dept. of the Interior, EPA, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

“It’s an honor that the efforts of iPIPE received this recognition for innovation, dedication and passion for the environment,” said Brent Lohnes, general manager in North Dakota for Hess Corporation and iPIPE consortium partner. “With our core industry partners, iPIPE has embraced the best of new technologies and is improving the safety of pipeline operations.”

As a consortium program, iPIPE is currently actively directed by nine members and one cost-share partner, including Andeavor, DCP Midstream, Enbridge, Equinor, Goodnight Midstream, Hess Corp., Oasis Midstream Partners, ONEOK, Whiting Petroleum, and the North Dakota Industrial Commission (cost-share partner).

About iPIPE

iPIPE is an industry-led consortium whose focus is to contribute to the advancement of near-commercial, emerging technologies to prevent and detect gathering pipeline leaks. The program is a direct response to North Dakota Governor Burgum’s May 2017 challenge to industry to think outside the box and apply new technology to address the challenge of eliminating pipeline leaks. Early success of iPIPE has resulted in three new program members since its founding, increased awareness resulting in new emerging technologies coming forth, and enhanced communication about advances made in pipeline safety. We anticipate that many of the technologies advanced through this program will have applications in other pipeline sectors as well. This unique program is currently funding approximately $4 million in development and demonstration activities over the course of almost 4 years. As additional pipeline operators join the program as members, additional funding will be applied to pursue more technology development efforts.

For more information, contact:
Nikki Massmann, EERC

EERC Welcomes Tyler Clark

Tyler Clark has joined the EERC as a Software Developer, where he develops new and improves existing web-based and desktop software solutions for the EERC and its clients. His main areas of interest and expertise are web development, application development, and database programming. He looks forward to designing and creating mobile applications for the Software Solutions Group.

“One thing that interests me the most about my job at the EERC is that there are different kinds of projects that are all happening at once, giving us all something unique to do,” Tyler said, “but the best thing I like about my job here is how friendly and approachable everyone is.” 

Tyler holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Science from the University of North Dakota, where he previously worked as a Research Assistant in the development of a web-based geographic information system (GIS) application to help researchers visualize West Nile virus occurrence and trends across North Dakota. 

Tyler gained an early interest in computers and how they work after being introduced to them by his father. As he got older, he took computer-related courses in high school and, eventually, decided to major in Computer Science. 

Tyler is originally from Grand Forks. Outside of work, Tyler is an avid learner, particularly in regard to history and space. “It is important to know our own history, so the same mistakes don’t happen again,” he said. Space intrigues him because there is so much we do not know.

EERC Named Among 50 Best Places to Work

The September issue of Prairie Business names and honors the 50 Best Places to Work in the northern Plains. 

Earlier this year, employees nominated the organizations by submitting anonymous employee-satisfaction surveys, and Prairie Business used the survey results in selecting the 50 Best. The survey sought input on each employer’s benefits, workplace culture and employee morale, among other factors. And employees responded. Prairie Business this year received more than 1,400 nominations from employees from around the region. In 2018, there were approximately 1,300 nominations. 

“Each year, it seems we’re awed by the number of nominations we receive,” Prairie Business Publisher Korrie Wenzel said. “This year, it has happened again. And after reading through the nominations, it is hard not to be impressed by the passionate comments made by so many employees at these great companies.” Prairie Business is proud to present the results of the contest, which now is in its fifth year. 

“It takes so much to be a great place to work. Obviously, it’s more than just pay or vacation time,” Wenzel said. “This year’s winners are good examples of companies that are working hard to make work fulfilling. It’s nice to see that it’s happening in so many places in our region.”

The 50 Best winners will be honored in the magazine, which can be viewed online.

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