North Dakota Wind Power, Hydrogen Consortium

Common methods of producing hydrogen usually rely on the use of natural gas, but North Dakota is helping to prove that wind energy can do the trick too. Democratic U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D N.D.) announced that a consortium of energy companies and research institutions in North Dakota was awarded a federal grant of $497,050 to undertake an innovative pilot program to produce, store and distribute hydrogen fuel.

Washington, D.C. – September 20, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] Common methods of producing hydrogen usually rely on the use of natural gas, but North Dakota is helping to prove that wind energy can do the trick too. Democratic U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) announced that a consortium of energy companies and research institutions in North Dakota was awarded a federal grant of $497,050 to undertake an innovative pilot program to produce, store and distribute hydrogen fuel. The project could be a major step toward efficiently producing hydrogen fuel using wind energy in North Dakota. Dorgan is a member of the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, and helped to secure the funding for the project during last year’s appropriations process. The consortium consists of Basin Electric Power Cooperative, the University of North Dakota Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC), Stuart Energy Systems, the North Dakota State University (NDSU) North Central Research Extension Center, Verendrye Electric Power Cooperative, and the City of Minot. These partners will contribute $124,262 to the project. “This project has enormous implications for the future of wind energy, hydrogen power, and economic growth in America’s Heartland,” said Dorgan. “North Dakota is positioned to become a world leader in wind power, and North Dakota scientists are already doing some of the most important hydrogen technology work in the world. I’m pleased that the Department of Energy has recognized this project as an important part of its research program.” The initial phase of the project will analyze the economics and environmental impacts associated with the production of hydrogen fuel using wind turbines. The second phase, scheduled to begin in the spring of 2005, will include the placement of a hydrogen electrolyzer using “dynamic scheduling” with Basin Electric’s wind energy farms to produce hydrogen for use as a vehicle fuel both on and off site. The hydrogen electrolyzer would be constructed at the NDSU North Central Research Extension Center with the support of Verendrye Electric.
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