carbon capture

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Wyoming has announced a new partnership with Japan focusing on carbon technology research.

Cooper McKim

A $7.5 million competition to develop products out of carbon dioxide is less than a year away from its final stage. The NRG Cosia Carbon XPRIZE competition will take place at the Integrated Test Center outside of Gillette. Five teams are nearing the point where they can set up operations. Wyoming Public Radio's Cooper McKim speaks with Marcius Extavour about how teams are progressing and what's still to come.

Cooper McKim

Hundreds of train cars overflowing with coal extend alongside a road. Trucks haul the same energy resource in a large pit on the other side of the road. The highway is outside of Gillette, Wyoming, commonly called the coal capital of the U.S.

Marcius Extavour at the ITC gathering
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

Four of the five finalists for the NRG Cosia Carbon XPRIZE competition gathered at the Integrated Test Center (ITC) in Gillette Tuesday. It's the first time the organization has brought teams back to the site since the ITC opened in May of 2018.

Public Domain

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon asked the legislature's Joint Appropriations Committee to fund a $10 million carbon capture test project. Gordon said the money would be provided to the University of Wyoming's School of Energy Resources.

Diagram illustrating how CCS works after the carbon fuel has been burned.
Explain That Stuff

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology has been a source of hope for coal country and touted by the Trump Administration as a way to keep the coal industry alive, while reducing its emissions. CCS aims to remove carbon dioxide from significant fossil-fuel emitting sites like power plants – it then either be stored or eventually used to develop products. But one report questions if its development is too slow to have a mainstream impact.

Stephanie Joyce

Wyoming’s energy resources are famous in the U.S., but they also play a role internationally. Coal markets are doing better now than in the past several years partially thanks to increasing exports and international prices. Dr. Robert Ichord helps give a broad view on the future of coal, renewable energy and carbon capture technology. Dr. Ichord has been a leader in energy transformation and security for years within the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development and Department of Energy. 

Logo for Governors' Partnership on Carbon Capture
Matt Fry / Office of Governor Matt Mead

Montana and Wyoming’s Governors Steve Bullock and Matt Mead announced Tuesday the formation of a new group focused on supporting carbon capture policies and projects: the Governors' Partnership on Carbon Capture. While the two will lead the group, Louisiana, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Utah will also be involved.

Madelyn Beck

What do you think about the state's ongoing efforts focused on carbon capture and clean coal?

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Zach Frailey/Uprooted Photographer

What actually is clean coal? Depends on who you ask. In Wyoming, a state that produces the most coal in the nation, clean coal is looked at as a possible economic savior.  It’s a big deal for a lot of other people, too. Forty percent of the world still depends on coal for electricity, and it’s still one of the cheapest and most abundant fuels. Clean coal could be the holy grail both for coal producers and for the world.

©UCAR. Photo by Carlye Calvin

The new supercomputer known as Cheyenne was officially dedicated at a ceremony Tuesday in the city it was named after. Governor Matt Mead, University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols and Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr were all in attendance, among other state leaders. Tony Busalacchi is the President of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research or UCAR. He said Cheyenne is the 22 most powerful in the world and three times stronger than the Yellowstone supercomputer it’s replacing.

Stephanie Joyce

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead is pushing for the expansion of a tax credit that supports carbon capture and enhanced oil recovery. 

Stephanie Joyce

The federal Department of Energy has awarded the University of Wyoming $2.4 million dollars for two carbon capture studies.

The grants will be used to research the potential for commercial-scale carbon capture and storage at the Jim Bridger power plant near Rock Springs and the Dry Fork Station near Gillette.

Previous studies have identified the Rock Springs uplift as an ideal location for storing large volumes of carbon dioxide. These grants are intended to move beyond the technical specifications. 

energy.gov

One of the great hopes for saving the coal industry is the development of a cheap, efficient way to permanently store the carbon emitted from it, but so far, carbon capture and storage has struggled to live up to expectations.

Juerg Matter

In what could prove to be a major step forward for carbon capture and storage, a group of researchers in Iceland have discovered how to turn carbon dioxide emissions from a power plant into stone.

Carbon capture and storage is considered an important tool in the fight against global climate change, but the storage part of the equation has proved challenging—most work has focused on injecting the carbon dioxide into deep saline aquifers, which then need to be monitored for centuries for potential leaks.

Wyoming Business Council

Officials broke ground Wednesday on a new facility that will house carbon conversion experiments. The Integrated Test Center or ITC will be attached to the coal-fired Dry Fork power plant near Gillette. 

The first tenants will be teams competing for the $20 million Carbon XPrize, a competition to turn carbon dioxide emissions into useful products.

“What you’re going to see is the nexus, the very kernel of what I anticipate will be a multi-billion dollar a year industry,” said Paul Bunje, with the XPrize Foundation.

XPRIZE

As we have reported recently, Wyoming has started looking for new ways to use coal, beyond simply burning it for power. The state is also starting to look at new ways to use a coal byproduct that has become a serious liability: carbon dioxide. The recently announced $20 million Carbon XPrize is intended to spur innovators to address that very problem. Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce sat down with Paul Bunje of the XPrize Foundation to learn more.

Repealing tax credits for fossil fuel producers and strengthening the Bureau of Land Management’s oil and gas program are the among the energy proposals in President Obama’s 2015 budget.

A research lab dedicated to finding new ways to collect and use carbon dioxide is a step closer to becoming a reality. 

The Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee has recommended that $15 million be set aside for the project, which would be located at one of Wyoming’s coal-fired power plants.  The project would be a collaboration between the state, the University of Wyoming, and a power company.

Researchers with the University of Wyoming’s Carbon Management Institute have discovered a vast underground deposit of lithium in Southwest Wyoming. Researchers were taking deep samples in the Rock Springs Uplift to study how the state might store its oil and gas emissions when they discovered the reserve. They say it could hold up to 150 times more lithium than the nation’s current largest producer in Silver Peak, Nevada.


Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi is one of three U.S. legislators sponsoring a bill that would help ease the process for earning tax credits related to carbon capture.

The existing carbon capture tax credit offers a maximum of 150 million dollars total per year, or a national cap set at 75 million tons of carbon, to companies which capture or reuse greenhouse gases instead of releasing them into the air.  The credit expires once that limit is reached. That breaks down to a credit of $10 per ton for enhanced oil recovery, and $20 per ton for carbon capture.