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Ballard Pleased With Progress on HPG-ATC Project
Feb. 17, 2010 -- As the start date for construction of the High Plains Gasification Advanced Technology Center (HPG-ATC) nears, Robert Ballard says he's looking forward to developing a successful research facility for the University of Wyoming and the state of Wyoming.
Ballard, an engineering, construction, operations, facilities and business development executive with more than four decades of experience in the power and energy industry, has been working as project manager of the HPG-ATC since April 2008.
As project manager, Ballard's role is to develop, design, build and commission the world-class research facility, a joint project between the University of Wyoming and GE Energy that was announced in 2008. Construction is expected to begin in 2011.
"This project appealed to me because it makes use of all I have learned in a 40-year career in the power and energy field," says Ballard. "I also see the importance of the facility to the university and the state of Wyoming. This facility has the potential to be a showcase, one-of-a-kind research facility that can bring unparalleled notoriety to the university and further the goals of the state and GE Energy."
Before his appointment as project manager, Ballard held various executive positions across the United States, most recently as senior project management executive for NRG Energy, Inc., where he spearheaded environmental retrofit projects at 14 coal-boiler projects at four sites.
"It's been a terrific experience to work with Bob," Bill Gern, UW vice president for research and economic development, says. "He's knowledgeable, professional, and he keeps the project running on the clock."
The HPG-ATC will consist of a small-scale gasification system that will allow UW and GE Energy researchers to develop and validate advanced coal gasification technology solutions for Powder River Basin and other Wyoming coals. The plant is expected to allow engineers to gain experience in advanced coal gasification processes. It also will provide students an opportunity to learn about coal gasification.
Construction is expected to take one and a half years, with employment expected to peak at approximately 300 construction jobs, said Gern says. When in operation, the project will employ approximately 15 skilled and semi-skilled workers.
The total construction costs, including installed equipment, are expected to be approximately $100 million.