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UW Receives Federal Funding for Carbon Sequestration Research

August 31, 2009

The University of Wyoming has received nearly $2 million in competitive federal funding to support its efforts to enhance carbon sequestration research and technology.

Two UW proposals were approved as part of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) attempts to stimulate clean-coal research and technology through the development of regional training projects and the study of the potential risks of carbon dioxide storage in geologic formations.

In all, the DOE awarded about $36 million to fund 26 projects at universities and other research units from New York to Montana and Georgia to Washington. UW was one of just three schools to receive multiple approvals; the University of Texas at Austin and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, N.M., were the others.

"Wyoming's carbon sequestration initiatives are critical to ensuring the continued strength of our state's fossil fuel industry," says Carol Frost, associate vice president for research and economic development UW. "The university is extremely pleased that our faculty was awarded two projects in a highly-competitive process."

James D. Myers, a professor in the UW Department of Geology and Geophysics, received $994,910 over three years to develop the Wyoming CCS Technology Center (WCTI), which would be based in Laramie but facilitate training and technology transfer throughout the region. His award will be matched by $990,000 in AML funds allocated by the Wyoming State Legislature for carbon sequestration research.

The WCTI will use an industry-wide model to train a professional workforce, provide pathways for graduates and professionals from allied fields and create a vehicle for communicating regional carbon capture and storage knowledge and technology.

The DOE funded six similar projects to develop regional technology and training centers that "will help position the United States as a leader in carbon capture and storage technologies for years to come," said DOE Secretary Steven Chu.

The second approved UW proposal -- submitted by Subhashis Mallick, a professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics and a faculty member in the School of Energy Resources, and Vladimir Alvarado, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering -- is worth $1,046,917 over three years.

Their goal is to combine multiphase flow simulations with multi-component seismic waveform modeling and inversion to determine if seismic waveform inversion can accurately predict carbon dioxide plume movements within storage reservoirs in post-injection scenarios.

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