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Dorgan extols EERC’s role in hydrogen future

According to U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan, the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) has been—and will continue to be—integral to the development of a hydrogen economy and ensuring the energy security of our nation. Hydrogen, he said, is fueling a real-life revolution that is increasingly replacing outmoded technologies and being integrated into the everyday lives of millions.

“I am proud of the work the EERC has done in this exciting field,” said Dorgan, who presented the EERC with a plaque honoring its designation as the National Center for Hydrogen Technology (NCHT), a designation he worked in Congress to secure. “The work done in this facility has helped propel us into the future of transportation at an amazing rate.”

Dorgan awarded the EERC’s efforts during his Hydrogen Energy Action Summit “Building the Hydrogen Economy,” on November 7, which attracted more than 175 business, research, and government leaders to the EERC to find ways for North Dakota to take the lead in the emerging hydrogen economy.

The NCHT will play a vital role, bolstered with the October 14 recommendation for a $2.5 million award from the North Dakota Centers of Excellence Commission for construction of a new $3 million facility to house NCHT research activities. The award will be matched with $500,000 from the Grand Forks Growth Fund. The new hydrogen facility will open late next year.

The 15,000-square-foot facility will be dedicated to the development and commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and is expected to create between 50 and 100 new high-paying technical jobs and attract at least $50 million in research contracts in the very near term.

“The 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,” said EERC Director Gerald Groenewold.

Dorgan’s summit was followed on November 8 by a practical “Hydrogen 101” training course focused on the basics of hydrogen technology.

“This was the largest gathering of people to attend one of Senator Dorgan’s Red River Valley Research Corridor events,” said Groenewold. “The successful commercialization of innovative, practical hydrogen technologies depends on gatherings such as this which involve key players in the industry, government, and the research community.”