The Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory announced it will fund the next phase of an ambitious project developed by the University of Wyoming, Basin Electric Power Cooperative and other partners.
Through a competitive selection process, the DOE narrowed down the competitors and chose to provide $15.2 million to help bring a geologic carbon dioxide storage facility to commercial viability in the next five to 10 years.
The project, situated at the Dry Fork Station, a coal-fired power plant near Gillette, plans to store 50 million tons of carbon dioxide. The Dry Fork Station emits about 3.3 million tons of CO2 per year, according to Scott Quillinan, project manager and director of research for UW's School of Energy Resources.
Quillinan said commercial viability is possible thanks to a federal tax incentive.
"The federal government now has come out with what they're calling the 45Q tax credit, which will give you a tax credit for every ton of CO2 that can be stored," he said. "That's $50 per ton for saline storage and $35 per ton for enhanced oil recovery."
While carbon sequestration is already in demand, Quillinan said that's only expected to increase.
"It's just going to be needed. We all know that there's carbon policy coming into effect. And we all know that future industries are going to have to manage carbon emissions," he said.
The next and third phase is expected to start on October 1. It will include drilling additional test wells, cross well testing, injecting fluid to monitor how the CO2 would spread and preparing for permitting at the state and federal level.
Quillinan said Dry Fork Station is an ideal site for the complex because it's near the Integrated Test Center and has an expected lifespan of 80 years.
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