At the end of the second week of legislative control, area Republicans got more good news Friday afternoon.
Montana State University-Northern’s Dean of Technical Science Greg Kegel spoke to the North Central Montana Pachyderm Club, an “officially recognized allied organization of the Republican Party,” n Wolfer’s Diner during a lunch meeting Friday.
Kegal will tell the legislature the same thing
Kegel gave a presentation as a demonstration of what he will be telling the state legislature in the near future.
The presentation covered current and upcoming activities on the Northern campus and on the Hi-Line.
Kegel spoke of the potential that Northern is helping nurture and the increasing recognition of this potential on state, national and international levels.
All arrows lead to Havre
He told the lunching attendees of a meeting of national leaders during which the presenter showed a picture of the United States with arrows, all pointing to Havre.
“He asked people if they had ever heard of Havre,” Kegel said. “Then he said, ‘You are going to.’”
According to Kegel, there is a lot of interest in the intersection of existing energy, in coal, gas and oil, with emerging technologies, like solar, wind and biofuels, in this area. So much so, he said he had heard it referred to as “the energy center of the lower 48 states.”
Kegel touted Northern’s programs, from trade programs and industrial technology education to engineering and sustainable energy technologies.
Most of the talk was centered around Northern’s star biofuels program, and the attention it’s received.
He mentioned the millions of dollars in grants the university has received, running tests for the world’s largest diesel engine manufacturer and talking with the U.S. Navy about developing biodiesel of enough quality to run half of its fleet in five years. Progress toward that last task was recently made by a Northern scientist who developed an additive to make the biofuel good enough for jet fuel at lower temperatures.
Most of this is possible because of Northern’s unique facilities, with diesel engines of every size and a $1.1 million dollar emissions testing machine, which MSU-N is the “only school with that box.”
No one can do what Northern does
“There’s no place that can do that,” Kegel said. “There no one that will be able to do the kinds of tests that Northern can do as of this summer.”
“We’ll be five or six years ahead of anyone else.”
This summer MSU-N will have a scaled down biofuel production system that doesn’t produce much, “but it’s the best” and is great for education, as it works the same as larger commercial systems, just smaller.
Kegel told the Pachyderms that this biofuel research is vital to our national security.
“We are still horribly dependent on on the Middle East,” Kegel said. “These projects are expensive in the beginning. But we need to get geared up because it’s dangerous.”