The state of Wyoming's only four-year institution of higher education is working with one of the world's leading suppliers of power generation and energy delivery techniques to develop a small-scale gasification research and technology center that will allow UW and GE researchers to develop advanced coal gasification technology solutions for Powder River Basin and other Wyoming coals.
As the annual provider of about 40 percent of the United States' coal, Wyoming is uniquely positioned in the nation's energy landscape and has vast coal reserves capable of supporting a substantial portion of the nation's energy needs.
The facility will be owned and operated by UW. GE Energy will be the center's primary lessee for the initial post-construction term of operation, but UW, as well as other entities, may also conduct research under specified terms and conditions.
The center, once completed, will enable UW and GE researchers to advance the technical understanding of the conversion of feedstocks, such as coal, by gasification into synthesis gas (syngas) for use in power generation and for subsequent downstream conversion of syngas into liquid fuel and chemicals.
The center will be 1/100th size of a standard commercial unit, with the highest structure between 100 and 125 feet tall. The facility will consume approximately 24 tons of coal per day but will not produce any commercial product.
The HPG-ATC footprint will be approximately 35 acres. The major components of the center will be feedstock storage (coal pile), rainwater retention, feedstock processing, industrial gas (O2, N2, CO2 and natural gas) processing, a gasifier, gas flare, byproducts handling, control center, electrical, maintenance and educational facilities.
-- UW will use the HPG-ATC to expand its considerable energy-related technology experience.
-- GE Energy will use the HPG-ATC to further its expertise in gasification technology and to enhance its gasification business.
In July 2011, GE delayed the project amid uncertainty in the nation's energy policy. Officials plan to reassess the federal environment in 18 to 24 months. UW will secure the design-build contract with one of two short-listed firms. Construction was originally scheduled to begin in 2012, with the facility in operation by 2014.
Laramie County, Wyoming, was selected as home for the HPG-ATC following a request for proposals that generated 15 proposals in nine Wyoming counties. Laramie County was among three finalists; the others were Campbell County and Goshen County.
The proposed site is located in the Cheyenne LEADS Business Parkway, which encompasses about 900 acres immediately east of central Cheyenne, at the intersection of Interstates 25 and 80. The parkway's current tenants include Lowe's Home Improvement's Regional Distribution Center, EchoStar, Jeld-Wen Windows, Truss-Craft, Sierra Trading Post and Grobet. The HPG-ATC will be located on Christensen Road, off Campstool Road.
Per site selection criteria, the site is greenfield land that is level, flat, with minimal vegetation, at or above 4,000 feet in elevation and contains a minimum of 35 contiguous acres. Infrastructure elements comprise roadways, water supply, electrical power grid, natural gas supply, flood management and telecommunication lines.
With its potential to produce electricity, hydrogen, chemicals and other energy forms while virtually eliminating all air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, coal gasification is considered to be one of the most promising technologies for the energy suppliers of tomorrow.
The gasification process uses a controlled mixture of pressure, heat and steam to convert carbon-based materials -- such as coal -- into combustible gases that can be used for power generation and the production of chemicals or fertilizers.
The state of Wyoming will benefit from the continuation and advancement of Wyoming coals as a prominent and environmentally-friendly energy source, and UW and the state will benefit from recognition of superior energy-related research technology.
Finally, the maintenance and growth of Wyoming coals in the national and international marketplace will secure and even bolster Wyoming's energy tax base, a significant source of funding for state government, including the university.
The center will be built at a total cost of approximately $100 million. The cost will be split by UW and GE Energy. The state of Wyoming's contribution of $50 million will come from state legislative appropriations of historic federal abandoned mine land funds owned to the state. Those appropriations were made during the 2008 and 2009 legislative sessions.
Bob Ballard, Project Manager, email@example.com
Jeff Lewis, GE Primary Consultant, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chet Lockard, Facility Management Project Manager and Controls, email@example.com
Daryl Jensen, Trihydro Environmental Consultant, firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Wyoming: www.uwyo.edu/hpg-atc
GE Energy: www.ge.com/energy