Question #14

Please list all energy research projects undertaken from 2006, 2007, and 2008.  Please indicate how campuses are collaborating on projects.  How do these projects relate to either energy development in Montana or increasing energy efficiency in University System buildings and operations?  Have Indirect Cost Recoveries been used toward energy expenditure reductions?  Have the campuses consulted with the Energy Development Office to find out what research could specifically assist Montana to develop its energy resources?

  • The following are links to reports depicting the energy related research

    Q14 Attachment1: MSU Energy Projects
    Q14 Attachment2: UM Energy Projects 

  • Some of these projects lend themselves well to collaboration. Examples include “Environmental Responses to Geologic CO2 Sequestrations” and the “Montana Palladium Research Initiative.”

  • Many of the projects relate to energy development in Montana.  Several projects deal with bio-fuels involving crops that can be grown in Montana.  “Big Sky Regional Carbon Sequestration” looks at the impacts of no-till farming on terrestrial sequestration.  Geologic sequestration projects and wind projects provide general knowledge of benefit to these types of energy endeavors that are of interest to the state.  Essentially none of the projects relate to increasing energy efficiency in university system buildings because that would be primarily implementation of existing technologies as opposed to research.

  • Many of the issues that generate research programs at the federal level are, appropriately, national in nature.  Government agencies turn to academia to address highly technical issues such as interface related performance issues of Solid Oxide Fuel Cell cathodes or how bio-mimetic systems function for hydrogen production.  Understanding of fundamental issues such as these informs the technology of the future.  Additionally, it is appropriate that we participate in knowledge creation of benefit to the nation as well as the state.  We attempt to do both.

  • Indirect cost recoveries for these projects are treated the same way as all other projects.

  • There have been conversations with the Energy Promotion & Development Division of the Department of Commerce, particularly in the area of carbon sequestration.  It should be noted that the Energy Promotion & Development Division was formed in 2007, so projects initiated in 2006 and 2007 (which typically would have been proposed in 2006) could not have involved such conversations.

  • The initiation of work on carbon sequestration pre-dates the state’s strong interest in the subject but was pursued because it was a federal agency priority.  The campus personnel who developed the carbon sequestration component for the Energy Promotion & Development Division for the Saskatchewan-Montana project were available for that project because of other projects initiated prior to the formation of the Energy Promotion & Development Division.