Senator John Hoeven today announced that North Dakota State University (NDSU) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have entered into a memorandum of agreement to partner on research and development projects using advanced computers to help boost energy development, create new high-tech products and give students access to tremendous educational opportunities to prepare them for high-paying jobs. Hoeven brought them together at an energy symposium in Fargo in March and proposed a partnership to advance clean energy technologies.
"Using high-performance computers, NDSU and LLNL will collaborate on research and development projects aimed at boosting energy production from shale formations like the Bakken, which could yield billions of barrels of additional oil," Hoeven said. "We can become energy independent in the United States within the next five to seven years. That requires developing and deploying new technologies to produce more energy with better environmental stewardship. Today, this partnership is one more example of how we're driving that technology development in North Dakota.
"Together, NDSU and LLNL could also create new polymers and coatings for a range of applications. And for students and faculty, the university expects exchanges with the lab for education and training, giving NDSU students and faculty access to one of the most advanced computers in the world and renowned professors to prepare them for the high-paying, high-tech careers of the future."
Hoeven, NDSU President Dean L. Bresciani and LLNL Director Dr. Penrose (Parney) Albright, finalized the agreement during a signing ceremony held at NDSU this afternoon.
Both NDSU and LLNL have proven themselves leaders in energy research. Hoeven said collaboration between the national lab and NDSU's Center for Computationally Assisted Science and Technology (CCAST) could lead to more energy production with a smaller environmental footprint. LLNL is one of the world's premier research facilities, having developed energy technologies in the fields of coal gasification, shale oil extraction, geothermal energy, advanced battery research and fusion energy. NDSU's supercomputing facility has some of the most powerful computers between Minneapolis and Seattle.
"The energy challenges of today and tomorrow require new kinds of partnerships to develop and use new kinds of technology," said LLNL Director Dr. Penrose (Parney) Albright. "We look forward to a close partnership with NDSU faculty, staff and students bringing advanced supercomputing to real world problems in fossil energy and sustainability. I am grateful to Senator Hoeven for enabling what will be an enduring relationship in service to the nation."
"Collaboration between NDSU and LLNL is expected to include faculty, staff and students on research projects, once funding is secured. This will provide a tremendous opportunity for students to gain experience in the use of advanced computing for science and technology development," said NDSU President Dean L. Bresciani.
Oil shale formations are a critically important resource for the United States, including North Dakota, which has advanced from the ninth to the second-largest oil producing state in the nation over the past six years. The use of current technology produces only 2 to 5 percent of the oil in place. North Dakota could benefit from new technology to produce more oil from individual shale oil wells, maximizing production, while reducing environmental impacts.
Other potential research projects using advanced computing could include developing chemicals and experiments that will enable scientists to create new medicines, as well as new materials for use in the energy industry. Among other pending plans, NDSU and LLNL also plan to seek funding for projects to harness the power of advanced computing to develop new materials and methods for use in experiments involving robots.
Hoeven is a member of the Senate Energy Committee and the Republican High-Tech Task Force, which is working to ensure that U.S. technology firms keep their competitive edge global markets. As governor, he launched initiatives to promote North Dakota's energy and technology sectors, including the Centers of Excellence initiative, which partnered companies with the state's campuses to research, develop and commercialize new products and services.
LLNL is a world leader in the application of advanced supercomputing to material science and chemical design and invented the field of computational molecular dynamics. Founded in 1952, the Lab provides solutions to our country's most important national security challenges through innovative science, engineering and technology. LLNL is managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.
NDSU is a leader in high throughput, robotic-driven, experimental and applied chemistry, and in R&D of polymers, coatings and other materials. Researchers at NDSU have created first-of-a-kind materials such as new catalysts, polymers and coatings used in defense applications and in commercial applications. NDSU's CCAST facility provides high-performance computing infrastructure for the university, its Research and Technology Park and their industrial partners, and engages in its own original research. NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 universities with very high research activity by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.