The University of North Dakota (UND) is getting high on hydrogen and loving it. One of UND’s student organizations, the Society of Energy Alternatives based out the Mechanical Engineering Department has built a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle from the ground up with the fuel cell itself being donated by John Deere and built by Toronto-based Hydrogenics Corporation (pictured).
In addition, UND boasts an eP-Ice Bear ice resurfacer that can operate inside closed areas such as hockey arenas without polluting the limited air space. The eP-Ice Bear is a fuel cell vehicle that is powered by four electric motors, one per wheel.
The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC), which is a high-tech, nonprofit branch of UND, has just broken ground on the National Center for Hydrogen Technology facility to be located on the grounds of UND. According to the EERC, “The 15,000-square-foot facility will allow the EERC to capitalize on the tremendous growth in hydrogen-related projects at the EERC. The facility will significantly enhance the strategic research, development, testing, and commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and result in 50 to 100 new, high-paying private sector equivalent jobs at the EERC. An additional 50 to 100 new private sector jobs in the greater Grand Forks region will also evolve as these projects progress.”
In June 2005, the Department of Energy awarded EERC $2.7 million to help with the development efforts of hydrogen-from-coal technology outlined in the DOE’s FutureGen Initiative. This initiative is studying and developing methods of clean coal refining, end-of-pipe reforming, and CO2 and NOx sequestration.
With all of this research going on it is clear that the University of North Dakota is hip deep in hydrogen and for years to come we all will be benefiting from their research and development efforts.