Grand Forks, North Dakota [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota (UND) received a $2.5 million award from the North Dakota Centers of Excellence Commission to build a new facility for the EERC’s National Center for Hydrogen Technology.“The EERC’s 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 Gerald Groenewold, EERC Director. The $3 million, 15,000-square-foot facility is 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, attracting $50 million in research contracts in the short term. It will be built to the west of the current EERC facilities on the UND campus. The award will be matched with $500,000 from the Grand Forks Growth Fund, which is managed by the Grand Forks Job Development Authority. “We would like to thank the city of Grand Forks for its tremendous support and financial partnership,” Groenewold said. “This new facility will house world-class activities, which will draw global attention to Grand Forks and bring more world-class talent to our community.” The EERC was designated the National Center for Hydrogen Technology by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in November 2004 in recognition of more than 50 years of hydrogen research involving fossil fuels and renewable energy. The award will now go through three more levels of approval by the State Board of Higher Education, the North Dakota Department of Commerce Foundation, and the Legislative Budget Section before final disbursement of funds in early December. Groenewold said construction on the National Center for Hydrogen Technology facility is expected to begin in spring 2006, with anticipated completion in fall 2006.