From: Elisa L. Rineheart, Grand Forks Herald, N.D.
Published November 21, 2004 12:00 AM

Congress OKs Funding for University of North Dakota Fuel-Cell Research Center

Nov. 21—UND is one step closer to housing a $3 million hydrogen fuel cell research center.

The funding for the research center was approved Saturday as part of a $388 billion domestic spending bill for Fiscal Year 2005.

The bill, which was approved by the House, provides $10 million in advanced energy research projects at the Energy & Environmental Research Center, including $3 million to create the hydrogen fuel research center.

If approved by the Senate in the upcoming days, the center is expected to "create high-paying research jobs and add a new dimension" to the existing EERC at UND, said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.

Replacing internal combustion engines with alternative fuel technology would eliminate dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf, Dorgan said.

"One of my interests is that our country move toward hydrogen and fuel cells for powering vehicles in the future," Dorgan said. "We need to stop depending on Middle East oil."

The funding will move the EERC in the direction of becoming one of the top hydrogen fuel cell research facilities in the nation and enhance the existing Red River Research Corridor, Dorgan said.

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© 2004, Grand Forks Herald, N.D. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.

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