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SUNRISE Education & Research Program
The Sustainable Energy Research and Supporting Education Initiative
SUNRISE will 1) conduct research that contributes to solving complex energy-related problems, 2) investigate the development and improvement of sustainable energy options, 3) increase UND and NDSU research competitiveness in sustainable energy, 4) and produce graduates to develop and promote sustainable energy in North Dakota, the region, and the nation, all within a unified, interdisciplinary program that translates fundamental research into commercial solutions.
The primary vision of SUNRISE researchers is that all stages of the research and development process must be incorporated into a unified program so that fundamental research results can be effectively and efficiently translated into commercially viable solutions. It is the development of commercially viable products that will lead to increased job production within our state. While the establishment of SUNRISE as a Center of Excellence will increase the research productivity of ten to fifteen departments within the university system, it is the development of products that will be spun into the general economy, not the influx of additional research dollars to UND that will be the true rewards of this center.
North Dakota's two primary economic sectors are agriculture and energy. Researchers at UND and NDSU have been developing experience and infrastructure so that a future Center of Excellence in Sustainable Energy can be realized that directly impacts these two primary economic sectors. The SUNRISE initiative addresses three aspects of sustainable energy that are particularly important to the State of North Dakota:
* Sustainable coal utilization through improved environmental performance and the development of chemicals to replace petroleum-based products
* Agriculture-based fuels, chemicals, polymers, and composites development
* Harvesting energy from diffuse sources (wind/solar)
* Activities in these three research thrusts will help our state achieve a well rounded portfolio to meet long-term sustainable energy needs.
The strength of this research group is the demonstrated commitment of the principal participants to truly collaborative, student-centered RD&C and supporting education and outreach programs. SUNRISE is centered in and managed from the UND Departments of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry. A total of 24 faculty researchers from UND and NDSU currently participate in SUNRISE-associated research projects. Disciplines represented include: Chemistry (UND, NDSU), Chemical Engineering (UND), Electrical Engineering (UND), Plant Sciences (NDSU), Entrepreneurship (UND), Earth System Science and Policy (UND), Mechanical Engineering (UND, NDSU), Political Science (UND), Law (UND), Diesel Technology (NDSCS), and Teaching & Learning (UND). Under the SUNRISE BioProducts COE we will add a researcher at Mayville State.
* DOE/ND APUC (05-06): Feasibility Study: Soy-Derived Aviation Turbine Fuel (Seames, Kubatova, Mann, Stamp), $145,000
* ND SBARE/NDSC (05-06): Small-Scale Testing of Candidate Soy-Derived Aviation Turbine Fuels and Fuel Blendstocks (Seames, Kubatova, Mann), $51,000
* NSF REU (03-05): Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Research Emphasizing the Application of Environmental Chemistry to Address Societal Issues (Kozliak, Mann, all UND ChE and Chem faculty), $268,000
* ND EPSCoR AURA (05): Constructing a high temperature materials test chamber (Seames, Mann), $7500
* DOE EPSCoR State Partnership Program, ND Dept. of Commerce/State Energy Office (04-07): Addressing System Integration Issues Required for the Development of Wind-Hydrogen Energy Systems (Mann, Salehfar), $487,666
* ND Department of Commerce/State Energy Office (05-07): Long Term Study of Underground Thermal Reservoir for a Ground Source Heat Pump at UND (Mann), $5,000.
* ND SBARE/NDSC/ND APUC, DOE (06-07): Commodity Chemical Intermediate Products from Cracked Soybean Oil/SME, (Seames, Stamp, Kubatova) $164,495
* DOE EPSCoR Lab Partnership Program (04-08): Development and Parallel Computer Implementation of Quasidegenerate Perturbation Theory for Molecular Electronic Structure
* DOE UCR, NDIC, Commercial Clients (10-07): Mercury Oxidation via Catalytic Barrier Filters Phase II (Seames, Mann, Muggli), $240,000
* NSF EPSCoR IIP (05-08): Sustainable Energy Research Initiative (Hoffmann, Mann, Smoliakova, Seames, Hershberger, Johnson), $1,080,000
* Total Completed Funded Projects = $2,890,000
* DOE STAC (05-08): Distributed combined heat, power and hydrogen systems (Mann, Seames), $119,775
* DOE EPSCoR IIP (06-09): Advances in the Fundamental Understanding of Coal Combustion Emission Mechanisms (Seames, Hoffmann, Hershberger, Bowman, Burghaus, Kozliak, Kubatova, Pierce, Mann, Tande), $2,500,000
* NDSC (07-08): Fuels and Chemicals from Soybean Oils (Seames, Kolodka, Kubatova, Stamp), $100,000
* NSF REU (06-08): Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Research Emphasizing the Application of Environmental Chemistry to Address Societal Issues (Kozliak, Mann, all UND ChE and Chem faculty), $288,000
* FAA/CGAR (07-08): Octane Enhancers from Crop Oils (Seames, Muggli, Kubatova, Kozliak, Mann), $380,952
* Commercial Client (07): Assessment of a hybrid canola oil as a feedstock for biofuels and polymers using the UND cracking process (Seames, Kubatova), $260,000
* NDSC (08-09): Fuels, Chemicals, and Polymers from Soybean Oil (Seames, Tande, Kubatova, Muggli), $110,000
* NDSC (08-09): Benefits of Co-Locating Soybean Processing Facilities with Sugar Beet Factories (Mann, Seames), $15,000
* EPRI (08): Modeling trace element transformations in coal-fired power plant plumes (Bowman), $9,994
* NSF-CAREER (08-12): Imprinting molecular chirality in Light induced transformations (Jayarman), $575,000
* UND Faculty Seed (08): Integrated laboratory and modeling study of trace element transformations in coal-fired power plant plumes (Bowman), $6,000
* UND Graduate School (08): Modeling of Fuel Cell Power Generators Using Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (Salehfar), $6,000
* NSF CAREER (08-12): Formation Pathway of polar derivatives of nitro-PAHs (Kubatova), $640,000
* NSF CAREER (08-12): Chemical Activity of Copper Oxide and Gold Nano Model Array Catalysts Towards CO Oxidation (Burghaus), $425,000
* USDA NRI (08-11): Bio-based Polymeric Materials from Cracked Crop Oils (Tande, Seames, Kolodka, Muggli), $375,000
* Total Currently Funded Projects = $5,560,000
Coal-related research has focused on understanding and mitigating environmental impacts from coal combustion in order to make the use of coal more sustainable from an environmental perspective. This work will include impacts associated with CO2 sequestration technologies. As we move forward we want to leverage our expertise and infrastructure in the development of fuels and chemicals from crop oils to begin researching the development of fuels and chemicals from coal. We will also expand our biomass combustion and biomass/coal co-combustion research program.
Ag-related research has focused on developing fuels, chemicals, polymers, and composites from crop oils particularly soybean oil and canola oil. Our work is centered upon the use of cracking and other catalytic reaction technologies to generate the building blocks and components necessary for fuels and chemicals. As we move forward we will move towards the commercialization of the first half dozen or so inventions from this work, including pilot scale and demonstration scale facilities. We will study the cracking and reaction processes in order to better understand the fundamental mechanisms of our processes and characterize cracked materials in order to identify additional opportunities to produce high value by-products. We will look at novel crops as a means to develop better or additional products. Another area we will explore is the use of algae-produced lipids as the feedstock oils for use in our processes. Finally, we will begin looking at the feasibility of using lower cost cellulosic- and lignin-based raw materials as feedstocks to produce fuels and chemicals.
Harvesting Diffuse Energy Sources is focused on helping to develop North Dakota's wind resources by transferring wind energy into an energy carrier (H2) that can be stored and used as a fuel for both the electric generation and transportation sectors. Activities are focused on improving the economic viability of producing, storing, and utilizing wind-generated hydrogen. Current activities of improving electrolysis performance, developing alternative compression techniques, and integrating power electronics and control will continue. Organic photovoltaic materials will be developed for solar power collection. We will also study the development of polymeric materials for fuel cell and hydrolysis cell membranes and the development of novel polymeric materials for use in wind turbine blades.
The vast majority of research conducted through SUNRISE forms the basis for doctoral and masters dissertations and theses. Undergraduate research components, usually of larger projects, are used to engage promising undergraduates in research so that they can evaluate research and advanced studies as potential postdoctoral researchers are also included where this levof expertise is appropriate to the project. Student-centered research shall remain the primary mechanism for conducting research in the future.
A middle-school outreach program, known as POWER ON! was developed and will be implemented. POWER ON! uses experiments and demonstrations in the area of Sustainable Energy as an experiential learning component in an integrated program designed to motivate and educate middle school children in science, engineering, and math. The program includes summer camps executed through the Dakota Science Center in a new portable experimental trailer, teacher wand the development of supplemental materials for middle schoocurriculum. Initial execution is with the Four Winds, Devils Lake, and Grand Forks school districts.
SUNRISE supports the ND EPSCoR Nurturing America Tribal Undergraduate Research and Education (NATURE) program. This includes summer camp, Sunday academies, and Tribal College faculty research experiences. SUNRISE manages one other aspect of NATURE--the Freshman Experience--which brings High School Seniors and 1st year Tribal College students to UND/NDSU for 2-4 weeks in order to introduce them to the University and a faculty mentor. This program is coordinated with the UND School of Engineering and Mines American Indians in Engineering program.