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.