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First of its kind carbon capture plant to operate in Wyoming

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Willow Belden
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Willow Belden

Two U.S. technology companies have announced a carbon capture project in Wyoming. The state hopes this will boost the economy and help with emission goals.

The partnership between Carbon Capture Inc. and Frontier Carbon Solutions is called ‘Project Bison.’ The goal is to build a direct air capture plant that will remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it underground. Previously, Wyoming has only invested in technology that captures carbon before it is released into the atmosphere, as the direct air capture industry technology had not yet been deployed on a large, commercial scale.

“As the Energy State, we are committed to advancing the carbon management industry in Wyoming,” Governor Mark Gordon said in a press release. “We are an early leader in developing carbon capture possibilities and policy. The interest in locating a project of this scale here demonstrates Wyoming’s commitment to CO2 capture, use and storage projects as this industry develops.”

The new plant is intended to be the largest of its kind in the world, said Sarah Fitz-Gerald, the chief strategy officer of the Wyoming Business Council, which helped facilitate the project.

“We have great geological carbon dioxide storage. We have policy that makes it really attractive to locate something like this in Wyoming,” Fitz-Gerald said. “And we have a lot of capacity for renewable energy.”

The plant will remove five million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere and store it underground annually by 2030. That amount of emissions is about equal to the emissions from one million gas vehicles driven for one year.

Removing large amounts of atmospheric emissions is considered a critical part of the puzzle to achieving U.S. climate goals, which include cutting climate warming emissions by 50 percent below 2005 levels in the next eight years. Wyoming set a goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, which means a balance between greenhouse gasses produced and captured or removed.

“Project Bison – and others like it – have the potential to contribute to Wyoming’s net zero aspirations,” Glen Murrell, the executive director of the Wyoming Energy Authority, said in the press release. “Wyoming has been a leader in carbon management, and we welcome CarbonCapture Inc.’s commitment to the state.”

Fitz-Gerald added that the passing of the recent Inflation Reduction Act in Congress opened up some opportunities for the project. For example, a tax credit related to direct air capture was increased to $180 per ton of emissions captured and stored.

“And so that makes the economics look significantly better,” Fitz-Gerald said.

Previously, the tax credit was $50 per ton.

If everything goes to plan, the project will be fully operational by late next year. Fitz-Gerald said the hope is it will eventually create hundreds of jobs. The location of the facility, other than generally in Wyoming, is still undisclosed.

Caitlin Tan is the Energy and Natural Resources reporter based in Sublette County, Wyoming. Since graduating from the University of Wyoming in 2017, she’s reported on salmon in Alaska, folkways in Appalachia and helped produce 'All Things Considered' in Washington D.C. She formerly co-hosted the podcast ‘Inside Appalachia.' You can typically find her outside in the mountains with her two dogs.
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