UW researchers gain state-of-the-art energy labs

Sep 4, 2013

Students and researchers at the University of Wyoming now have access to high-tech equipment that will enable them to do more advanced energy research than in the past.

The university’s new $25 million Energy Innovation Center houses labs for researching better ways to extract oil and more efficient techniques to convert coal into liquids.

The center also has a so-called “CAVE,” or 3-D simulator. Researchers import a set of data – for instance about an oil reservoir  -- and a 3-D image is created. Students and researchers can then see what that reservoir looks like as if they were inside of it.

Diana Hulme of the School of Energy Resources says technology like this will help students learn and could assist in scientific or engineering breakthroughs.

“Researchers have been able to see their data with computer technology that we have,” Hulme said. “But they’re not involved with the data. They can’t walk around the data – the image; they can’t go inside the image and get a different perspective of what the data might look like from a different angle, like they can in a cave.”

Nikhil Shetty, who is in charge of software for the CAVE, views a 3-D image of a protein.
Credit Willow Belden / WPR

School of Energy Resources Director Mark Northam says having state-of-the-art equipment like this will give students the skills they need to become attractive job candidates.