A cornerstone of the EERC’s success is its rich history.
The EERC was officially founded in 1951 as the Robertson Lignite Research Laboratory, a federal facility under the U.S. Bureau of Mines. However, the EERC’s roots date back to the 1890s when Earl Babcock, a chemistry professor at the University of North Dakota (UND), began studying the state’s vast lignite coal resources and investigating potential uses for them.
The work of Babcock and others at UND led to the establishment of the Bureau of Mines laboratory on the university campus in 1951. In 1977, the facility became a federal energy technology center under the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In 1983, the center was defederalized and became part of UND.
Since its defederalization, the EERC has evolved to conduct research on all fossil fuels, as well as renewable and alternative fuels, and has become a world leader in the field of pollution prevention and environmental cleanup technologies.