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SUNRISE Research and Experience Program

North Dakota's two primary economic sectors are agriculture and energy. Researchers at the University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University, North Dakota State College of Science, and Mayville State University have been developing experience and infrastructure so that the SUNRISE BioProducts Center of Excellence can be realized to directly impact these two primary economic sectors. The result of this development is the SUstainable eNergy Research, Infrastructure and Supporting Education program, or SUNRISE, a multidisciplinary cluster of researchers from various institutions sharing expertise and resources.

Key Aspects

The SUNRISE initiative addresses three aspects of sustainable energy that are particularly important to the State of North Dakota:

  • Sustainable coal utilization through improved environmental performance and the development of chemicals to replace petroleum-based products
  • Agriculture-based fuels, chemicals, polymers, and composites development
  • Harvesting energy from diffuse sources (wind/solar)

Activities in these three research thrusts will help our state achieve a well rounded portfolio to meet long-term sustainable energy needs.


The strength of this research group is the demonstrated commitment of the principal participants to truly collaborative, student-centered RD&C, as well as supporting education and outreach programs. SUNRISE is centered in and managed from the UND Departments of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry.

A total of 31 faculty researchers from 13 separate academic departments from UND, NDSU, and Mayville State currently participate in SUNRISE-associated research projects. Disciplines represented include:

  • Agribusiness and Economics (NDSU)
  • Ag & Biosystems Engineering (NDSU)
  • Chemistry (UND, NDSU)
  • Chemical Engineering (UND)
  • Earth System Science and Policy (UND)
  • Electrical Engineering (UND, NDSU)
  • Industrial Engineering (NDSU)
  • Law (UND)
  • Mechanical Engineering (UND, NDSU)
  • Plant Sciences (NDSU, Mayville State)
  • Political Science (UND)
  • Polymers and Coatings (NDSU)
  • Teaching & Learning (UND).


Since 2004, SUNRISE researchers have received over $35 million for funded research and education projects from 44 separate funding entities.