Hoeven Working to Expand Cooperative Agreements Between National Energy Labs and N.D. Universities

Senator Highlights Agreements at UND, NDSU as Model for Making New Energy Technologies Commercially Viable

WASHINGTON – During a Senate Appropriations Committee on Energy and Water hearing last week, Senator John Hoeven said he worked to include funding in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill to promote more cooperative agreements between the Department of Energy and the nation’s research universities. The senator highlighted the agreements as models for developing and deploying new energy technologies. He cited specifically, two examples from North Dakota that are working to bring new technology to market to better develop the nation’s energy resources with less environmental impact, including:

  • The Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota (UND), which partners with the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).
  • The Center for Computationally Assisted Science and Technology (CCAST) at North Dakota State University (NDSU), which partners with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

“This is about promoting collaboration between the DOE and our best university research centers to develop commercially viable technologies that can be used by industry in the real world to create more energy with better environmental stewardship,” Hoeven said. “Our two research universities in North Dakota are doing tremendous work, in partnership with both private industry and the National Labs, to develop new energy technologies that work in the lab and are cost-effective to deploy on a larger scale. We will continue to work through annual appropriations bills, as we have this year, to support these cooperative agreements and maximize their potential.”

In addition to its agreement with NETL, the EERC leads the Plains CO2 Reduction Partnership, a collaboration of more than 80 U.S. and Canadian stakeholders, to develop carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology and make it commercially viable. Earlier this year, Senator Hoeven announced that the EERC and the DOE had renewed their cooperative agreement for two years. The announcement followed a meeting the senator arranged between Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, EERC Director Tom Erickson and Associate Director for Research John Harju.

The NDSU agreement, which Hoeven announced in 2012, supports research and development projects using the university’s high-performance computing infrastructure, some of the most powerful computers between Minneapolis and Seattle. The agreement allows NDSU staff and faculty to access the tremendous educational and research opportunities offered by LLNL, a world leader in the application of advanced supercomputing to material science and chemical design.

At the same time, NDSU’s infrastructure enhances the lab’s work across a variety of fields, including coal gasification, shale oil extraction, geothermal energy, advanced battery research and fusion energy. The agreement came as the result of a symposium Hoeven hosted in Fargo in early 2012, where he brought officials from NDSU and LLNL together and proposed a partnership to advance clean energy technologies.