Local engineer named innovator of the year
By Michael Johnson, Editor
The Economic Development Association of North Dakota awarded the innovator of the year award to Great River Energy senior engineer Charlie Bullinger Dec. 7 in Bismarck. Bullinger’s work with the innovation called DryFining was the main reason behind his winning the award. The DryFining process is a combination of drying and refining high-moisture coal that is abundant in the area and around the world. The process uses waste heat from Coal Creek Station to dry the coal, which results in a coal that emits more efficient energy and emits fewer emissions. The project started in 1997 and is now being commercialized around the world. This impressive innovation is one that Bullinger is quick to credit to a team of skilled individuals. "I am humbled," Bullinger said. "I lead a team, really." He also gives much praise to the board of directors and his close collaborators, Mark Ness and Jeff Hammes. He added that without the research dollars the process never would have been possible. Bullinger said he knew if the innovation would work as they imagined, it would have world-wide impact. But he adds that they were not aware at first of the impressive decrease in emissions brought forth by the technology.