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Experts Discuss Coal Technologies In Jackson Hole

Rebecca Huntington

The future of coal was the focus of the International Advanced Coal Technologies Conference in Jackson Hole this week.  

Researchers, officials, and advocates came from all over the world to discuss, among other issues, new ways to use coal. 

Richard Horner, Deputy Director of Emerging Technologies and Special Projects at University of Wyoming's School of Energy Resources, explained that coal can be converted into materials used to filter water or to make cars. He added that using CO2 instead of releasing in into the atmosphere could be good not only for the environment but also for the state's bottom line.  

"We can view chemical products as carbon sink so that we don't put the CO2 that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere," Horner said. "But more importantly the chemical market is a very high-demand market so when we look at future markets for chemicals, what we see is growth, typically of about seven percent or even more for selective products."

Partnering with countries like China and Australia, Horner said, could help Wyoming make progress in converting coal to high-value materials which could create a new industry and jobs in the state.

A multi-media journalist, Rebecca Huntington is a regular contributor to Wyoming Public Radio. She has reported on a variety of topics ranging from the National Parks, wildlife, environment, health care, education and business. She recently co-wrote the one-hour, high-definition documentary, The Stagecoach Bar: An American Crossroads, which premiered in 2012. She also works at another hub for community interactions, the Teton County Library where she is a Communications and Digital Media Specialist. She reported for daily and weekly newspapers in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Wyoming for more than a decade before becoming a multi-media journalist. She completed a Ted Scripps Fellowship in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado in 2002. She has written and produced video news stories for the PBS series This American Land (thisamericanland.org) and for Assignment Earth, broadcast on Yahoo! News and NBC affiliates. In 2009, she traveled to Guatemala to produce a series of videos on sustainable agriculture, tourism and forestry and to Peru to report on the impacts of extractive industries on local communities.
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