Tim Leeds Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
Gov. Brian Schweitzer and state Department of Commerce Director Tony Preite were scheduled to be in Havre this morning to announce a nearly $1 million grant to Montana State University- Northern for its Bio-Energy Innovation and Testing Center. “These funds will help train Montana students to meet the growing demand for diesel engine techs experienced in bio-fuels,” Schweitzer said in a press release. “The bio-based fuel, oil and additive industry is growing by leaps and bounds and MSUNorthern is helping Montana lead the nation.” The Montana Department of Commerce awarded a $990,312.50 Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development grant to Northern to support and expand training activities at Northern’s state-of-the-art lab and testing center housed in its Applied Technology Center. Schweitzer and Havre native Preite were at Northern last fall to present a check for another WIRED grant, $295,000 to help establish an emissions training curriculum. Part of the grant presented today will be used to purchase an alternating current engine dynamometer, the release said. That equipment will allow students in the ATC’s Diesel Engine Performance Laboratory to study the effects of bio-fuels, biobased fuel additives, bio-oils and other engine enhancement products on diesel engines under normal operating circumstances. Northern opened its new fuel testing and certifiCation laboratory last spring. It allows the staff at the university to test organic fuel and lubricants and certify that they meet the standards set by ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials. The testing lab was added to more state-of-the art testing facilities at the ATC that allow students to work on and test engines, components and fuels and fuel additives. Northern plans to develop short-term training seminars to support the growing industry in bio-based fuels, oils and additives, the release said. The funds awarded to Northern will be administered by the Montana Office of Higher Education. WIRED grant funds are available to programs for worker training in specialized fields of bio-energy. The program also provides grants for WIRED-eligible jobtraining programs or projects to expand the bio-product industry in the 32-county WIRED region in eastern and central Montana and on six of Montana’s Indian reservations. Schweitzer spearheaded the creation of Montana’s WIRED program, the release said. In January 2006, the U.S. Department of Labor approved Schweitzer’s application for the WIRED initiative, one of only 13 approved nationwide.