Mines News

Release Date Thursday, September 25, 2014

SD Mines Awarded $4.8 Million Air Force Research Contract

RAPID CITY, S.D. (Sept. 25, 2014) – The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology has been awarded a $4.8 million research contract from the United States Air Force to develop ultra-efficient energy technologies to improve military performance in hostile environments.

While the end goal is to reduce Air Force demand for energy, the effort also offers economic development opportunities for the university.

The $4.8 million contract was awarded to SD Mines largely due to recently completed multi-disciplinary faculty research, which has positioned the university to deliver commercial prototypes, a requirement for this project.

Ultimately, developed technologies would provide energy independence for the Air Force in often unfriendly or austere settings by reducing the need for fuel and water to be delivered and by lowering the amount of solid waste that must be removed from bases.

In addition to conserving water, liquid and gaseous fuels from base waste could be used as is or converted into electricity, heat and other forms of energy, providing “green renewable energy” and meeting the Air Force’s strategic plan priority of “assure supply.”

One example of technology that will result from this effort is a full-scale prototype that will combine novel anaerobic and aerobic processes for solid waste conversion into useable on-site energy.

“This is a substantial research award to help solve a difficult problem for the Air Force – reducing the need to transport fuel to remote locations,” said Heather Wilson, president of the School of Mines. “We are very pleased to do this work for the Air Force and we hope to continue to strengthen our partnership with them.”

The university’s multi-disciplinary team includes:

  • Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering – Drs. Sookie Bang, Kenneth Benjamin, David Dixon, Patrick Gilcrease, Todd Menkhaus, Jan Puszynski, Rajesh Sani, Anuradha Shende, Rajesh Shende and Robb Winter (project director)
  • Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering – Dr. Yucheng Zhang
  • Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering – Dr. James Stone
  • Department of Chemistry & Applied Biological Sciences – Drs. Sookie Bang, Hao Fong and Rajesh Sani.


About SDSM&T

Founded in 1885, the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a science and engineering research university located in Rapid City, S.D., offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. The university enrolls 2,798 students from 45 states and 39 foreign countries, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The SD School of Mines placement rate is 98 percent, with an average early career salary for graduates of $65,600, according to the 2014-2015 PayScale report. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sdsmt and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sdsmt.





About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $70,036. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, and Snapchat.