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Published April 19, 2011, 09:30 PM

Conrad Touts EERC's 'Major Breakthroughs' in Energy

Senator Kent Conrad is working on a comprehensive energy bill and believes work done at the Energy and Environmental Research Center is helping with energy advances.

Senator Kent Conrad is working on a comprehensive energy bill and believes work done at the Energy and Environmental Research Center is helping with energy advances.

Conrad visited UND Tuesday to see energy advances made by researchers at the EERC.

"We're putting together a comprehensive bipartisan energy plan to reduce our dependence on foreign energy," Conrad said.

Conrad told employees at UND Tuesday that the work they are doing is helping move the country toward greater energy independence. Researchers at the EERC have found ways to store and distribute hydrogen at gas stations, which would make it less costly.

"They have had two major breakthroughs here. First of all, dealing with the storage problem, it no longer is a problem because of what they've found here. And number two because of the infrastructure issue they've addressed," Conrad said.

Conrad says he'd like the next energy bill to include investment in clean sources of electricity, development of advanced vehicles and promotion of alternative fuels.

"We need a portfolio of every possible energy technology to be examined to determine technical feasibility and economic acceptability," EERC director Gerry Groenewold said.

Conrad says utilizing natural resources and learning from research centers like the EERC will help the country implement new energy sources.

"The problem is so big, we are importing 60 percent of the oil that we use. So there is room for electric cars, there is room for special policies to encourage our buses and truck fleets to go to natural gas. There is room for hydrogen in our future as well," Conrad said.

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