Alternative Fuels & Renewables
Innovative Solutions for Biomass and Renewable Fuels
A total-systems energy approach means research in all sources of energy. We are dedicated to the research and development of renewable fuels and technologies along with the commitment to an all-encompassing integrated energy approach. By developing biomass fuels for heat, power, and transportation, we are working to advance all of North Dakota's energy resources. We work with industry to overcome technical, economic, and social barriers to commercial utilization of alternative fuels. For decades, we've developed essential technologies to produce economical fuels and chemicals from renewable agricultural resources.
Our researchers were the first to develop 100% domestic, renewable jet fuel for the U.S. Department of Defense. The fuel meets aviation fuel screening criteria, providing a pathway to providing energy security to the U.S. military and the entire nation.
We have a long history of developing, testing, and integrating technologies for the production and use of hydrogen fuel. In 2004, the National Center for Hydrogen Technology® (NCHT®) was formed at the EERC. We have a unique combination of existing programs and facilities that support hydrogen production and fuel cell technology development.
We conduct groundbreaking research in renewables and alternative fuels. Some of our work includes:
- Biomass: straws and switchgrass, forest wood and manufacturing residue, municipal waste, food residue, algae, and oil seed crops.
- Alternative Fuels: green diesel and jet fuel, green gasoline and fuel additives, aviation-grade ethanol, and fuel effects on human health.
- Non-Petroleum-Derived Fuels and Chemicals: renewable or green chemicals, catalytic conversion of crop and algae oils to renewable jet fuel and green diesel, liquid fuels from coal-biomass gasification-derived syngas conversion (Fischer-Tropsch), and liquefaction of biomass-coal mixtures to lubricants, transformer fluids, and drilling fluids.
- Hydrogen Production: hydrogen from coal, hydrogen-on-demand refueling system, battlefield hydrogen (JP-8), biomass-to-hydrogen, integrated hydrogen and ethanol production, and hydrogen fuel cells.
- Wind and Solar: small wind systems, hydrogen and ammonia from wind, and North Dakota solar photovoltaic resources.
- Full-scale field testing with a variety of solid and liquid renewable fuels
- Subsurface expertise for geothermal energy
- Pilot-scale demonstrations for biomass combustion and gasification
- Fischer-Tropsch systems for synthesizing fuels from biomass-derived gases
- Biomass processing including fuel-handling, crushing, shredding, and chipping preparation facilities
- Bench-scale laboratory analysis
- Analytical facilities for measuring organic and inorganic materials