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UW to Begin Negotiations for Laramie County Site for High Plains Gasification-Advanced Technology Center


May 8, 2009 — The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees today (Friday) approved a recommendation to begin negotiating to acquire a site in Laramie County on which to build the proposed High Plains Gasification-Advanced Technology Center. The site is located in the Cheyenne Business Parkway, in east Cheyenne with direct access to Interstate 80.

The trustees approved the recommendation of the center's governance board for the site proposed by Cheyenne LEADS. Three sites were evaluated, from among 15 proposals submitted in February. The site will be home to a small-scale gasification system that will allow researchers to develop and validate advanced coal gasification technologies for Powder River Basin and other Wyoming coals.

"We were impressed by the quality of all of the proposals. The governance board reported that a lengthy, thorough evaluation was required of all of the proposers to arrive at the recommendation," says Chuck Brown of Wheatland, president of the UW Board of Trustees. "We commend all of them for the time and effort they committed to this project. Now, we are excited to move forward on this project that will be a valuable addition to UW's energy research.

"Congratulations to Cheyenne are in order and the board looks forward to seeing the results of negotiations in coming weeks," Brown says.

"This center is of tremendous importance to the state," Trustee Dick Davis of Sheridan says. "Maintaining the viability of Wyoming coal to the national marketplace is essential to Wyoming's economic future. The high quality of these proposals reflects the commitment of our citizens to achieve that goal."

The proposed research facility is expected to allow researchers to gain experience on coal gasification and related processes. It will provide an opportunity to study coal gasification, which offers a method for generating electricity from coal with fewer emissions and the ability to capture carbon for future sequestration.

"This facility will position the University of Wyoming as a leader in the science of coal gasification research," says Tom Buchanan, UW president. "It provides an opportunity to demonstrate our faculty's expertise in energy-related research. And it will have far-reaching impacts on the use of coal for energy in the decades to come."

Construction of this facility is expected to take two to two and a half years, with employment expected to peak at approximately 300 construction jobs, says Bill Gern, UW vice president for research and economic development. 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.

GE Energy and UW in February 2008 announced plans to develop a coal gasification facility.

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

Posted on Friday, May 08, 2009

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