The Energy and Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota has been awarded a grant to develop and commercialize a new technology for producing fluids used in petroleum production.
Chris Zygarlicke is Associate Vice President for Strategic Projects and University Relations with the EERC.
"We have developed a novel hydroconversion series of catalysts and the catalysts just help you convert a vegetable oil to renewable chemicals - fluids. So that is, essentially, the technology."
The 250-thousand dollar grant from the North Dakota Department of Commerce Research North Dakota Program is being matched by the EERC's partner on the project, Accelergy Corporation of Houston, Texas - bringing the total research grant to 500-thousand dollars. Zygarlicke says this type of research combines two of North Dakota's biggest sectors - agriculture and energy - making it a perfect project to pursue here. If the project is successful it could become commercialized in North Dakota - providing a new market for agricultural feedstock and playing a major role in the Bakken oil play.