Students see chemistry in action at Dakota Gas lab


Since the students were studying Hess’ Law and enthalpies of reaction, Michaela Eisenbeisz, Dakota Gas senior chemist, demonstrated the different heating and cooling reactions that occur at Dakota Gas on a daily basis. Eisenbeisz also showed the students the metals and micro area of the lab.

Dakota Gas’ Great Plains Synfuels Plant chemistry laboratory employees recently gave a tour to students from Beulah High School’s Advanced Placement (AP) chemistry class.

The idea to bring the class to the laboratory first came about when Teacher Melanee Pulver toured Dakota Gas as part of the Lignite Energy Council’s Teachers Seminar. “As a chemistry major, I was quite excited and in awe to see the plant,” Pulver says.

Following the teacher’s seminar, Pulver took a course to start an AP Chemistry program at Beulah High School.

Pulver says the course emphasized a lot of the processes and reactions that she had learned about during her tour of Dakota Gas. ”After speaking with the instructor, he indicated that AP would be very excited to know that students would be able to see these things taking place in the real world,” Pulver says. “When we got to the topic of thermochemistry in class, I thought it would be a great time to bring the students out.”


Laura Eid, Dakota Gas senior chemist, showed the coal and fertilizer room where the students saw the sulfur analyzer in action.

Dakota Gas Laboratory Superintendent Amy Garman says they enjoy entertaining groups from the community. “We welcome any opportunity to promote science. Not everyone understands what Dakota Gas is about, so when visitors come, it’s a treat to be able to show them our products and the diversity of our plant,” Garman says.

Pulver says she was excited for the students to see that what they are learning has real-world applications. “The students were absolutely amazed by the technology in the lab that they lack in the classroom. Everything they do in the classroom manually was automated in the Dakota Gas chemistry lab. They were impressed by both the employees and the processes,” Pulver says. “I also have a few students who are now considering chemistry as an option for a career path.”

Visiting the lab with her AP chemistry class is something Pulver says she hopes to do annually.

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