U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp announced that the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State will receive grants that will total $414,999.
These grants are provided by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s People, Prosperity, and the Planet.
“Promoting research and development at two of North Dakota’s top universities are key to finding new breakthroughs in technology and medicine,” Heitkamp said.
UND will receive a $400,000 grant to fund a DNA research project called, “CAREER.” NDSU will receive $14,999 of the grant to begin research in a solar energy project titled, “A Novel Dual Purpose Solar Collector Design.”
“We will continue to prosper by solving the challenges of today and tomorrow and turning them into new opportunities while at the same time providing our students with the experience they need,” Heitkamp said. “These federal funds will support a DNA research project at UND and a solar project at NDSU.”
Jared Pfliger, staff director for Heitkamp, said Heitkamp is always looking to improve energy overall.
“When it comes to energy, we also need to be more efficient and competitive going forward,” Pfliger said.
The primary investigator of the solar research project at NDSU is Yao Yu, an assistant professor in the department of construction management and engineering.
The EPA says Yu’s research intends to replace the typical single-pane glass cover with a solar collector with a double-pane window with liquid flowing between the two panels. By doing this, Yu hopes to eliminate cooling towers, which create negative effects such as urban heat-island effect, waste of condenser water and the threat of Legionnaires’ disease.
The original design for solar panels traps in heat. Yu’s proposed model will harness cool air from the night as well as heat from the day to maintain the system.
Yu hopes to improve renewable energy so more people will begin to implement these types of technology in order to cut down on greenhouse emissions and increase economic competitiveness within the renewable resource field.
At the end of his research, Yu expects that he will have a fully functional prototype that is properly scaled for the laboratory.
Pfliger said that grants like the one Yu received are given out often and that they are readily available for people that put time and effort into a worthwhile research project.