One day after U.S. Energy Secretary's visit, EERC receives $5 million research grant

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Oct. 16—The Energy & Environmental Research Center at UND has received a $5 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy.

According to an Oct. 16 DOE news release, the funds will be used to advance the regional deployment of carbon capture, utilization and storage technology. The award will allow the EERC to assist 13 northwestern states and four Canadian provinces in identifying and addressing onshore regional storage and transport challenges facing the commercial deployment of carbon capture and storage in the region.

The announcement comes one day after Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm toured the EERC with Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Gov. Doug Burgum. Following the tour, the officials discussed with state energy leaders issues about carbon capture technology, which aims to strip carbon from energy sources such as coal, and store it underground.

The funding is part of DOE's Regional Initiatives project, the dual goals of which is to help states leverage the environmental benefits of carbon capture, while creating clean energy jobs.

"Every pocket of the country can and will benefit from the clean energy transition, and that includes our expanded use of carbon capture and storage technology to remove carbon pollution from fossil fuel use," said Granholm. "Through DOE's Regional Initiatives projects, we are making sure states — especially those with historic ties to fossil fuel industries — can access technology innovations to abate carbon pollution and enhance their local economies so that no worker or workforce is left behind."

The EERC is one of four research entities in the nation that received funding to do research on carbon capture technology. The Regional Initiative project is a continuation of a previous DOE program that worked to validate geologic storage technologies and support the commercialization of carbon capture. Each institute received about $5 million.

In a statement Friday, Hoeven said the funding will support the EERC-led Plains CO2 Reduction Partnership (PCOR), to develop commercial-scale transportation and storage of carbon emissions. While holding a roundtable discussion with Granholm and Burgum, Hoeven called for more federal funding to help commercialize carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies.

"North Dakota is leading the way in CCUS, and the EERC is a central part of these efforts, as it works with partners across the region to implement these technologies in a commercially-viable way for a variety of energy sources, including coal, ethanol and for enhanced oil recovery," said Hoeven. "We worked to advance this funding to ensure PCOR can continue its good work in researching, testing and developing our state's capacity for CO2 transportation and storage."

According to Nikki Massmann, director of communications for the EERC, the grant is the third installment for the PCOR initiative. Previous grants were also for $5 million.

"With the support of more than 100 partners in the program, the PCOR Partnership has been making safe, practical carbon capture, utilization, and storage projects a reality since 2003," Massmann said. "We are excited to continue these efforts."

Along with the EERC, institutes in Ohio, New Mexico and Georgia received funding. Each will work with several surrounding states in carbon capture research to ultimately blanket the country with potential carbon storage options.

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