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Funding Continues for High Plains Gasification - Advanced Technology Center


March 9, 2009 — Wyoming lawmakers have approved the second major installment of the state's portion of funding for the proposed High Plains Gasification - Advanced Technology Center.

The $30 million appropriation in the 2009-10 supplemental state budget from Wyoming's Abandoned Mine Land (AML) funds brings the state's contribution to date to $50 million.

"We're very pleased by the ongoing support this project has received from the state of Wyoming. The action by the legislature this year will ensure the project with GE Energy will move forward," Bill Gern, University of Wyoming vice president for research and economic development, says. "We have a great opportunity to learn about coal gasification, and that knowledge will be a great benefit to the state and the nation because it promises to ensure Powder River Basin coal remains competitive with other types of coal."

The state of Wyoming, through targeted legislative appropriations of historic AML funds owed the state from years of coal production, is investing that money in projects that will support Wyoming's reclamation and energy portfolio for decades to come.

The cost of the High Plains Gasification -- Advanced Technology Center -- estimated at $100 million, although final engineering and construction estimates are not complete -- will be split by GE Energy and UW. The state's current $50 million contribution comes from appropriations to the university from the federal AML fund. The initial state appropriation in 2008 was $20 million.

"We are pleased that Governor Freudenthal and Wyoming legislators have joined us in committing resources to develop advanced gasification technology," said Monte Atwell, general manager, Gasification, GE Energy. "The proposed center is an investment in the path forward for coal and underscores our belief that our country's energy and environmental policies should promote a balance of available, reliable, cleaner and lower-cost energy. Coal is, and will continue to be, part of that balance. The use of next generation coal technology like Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle -- that captures pollutants and enables carbon capture and sequestration -- helps create jobs, supports economic growth and responsibly addresses environmental concerns."

The High Plains Gasification -- Advanced Technology Center is being developed jointly by GE Energy and the University of Wyoming. The agreement signed in October outlines the framework for the joint development, design, construction and operation of the facility.

The university will own the facility and be responsible for its operation. Under the agreement, GE Energy will lease the facility from the university, with options to renew.

Three sites have been identified for further review for the location of the proposed gasification project; a final selection is expected later this year.

The proposed center would consist of a small-scale gasification system that would 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, and will provide students an opportunity to learn about coal gasification.

For information on the project, visit www.uwyo.edu/ge.

Posted on Monday, March 09, 2009

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