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Clean Coal Task Force Funds Eight Projects, Plans to Issue Additional RFP

September 23, 2009

The Clean Coal Task Force (CCTF) is working double-time this year.

The CCTF, whose job is to first identify and then fund research projects that could lead to the development of technologies to reduce the environmental impact of coal-based electric generation in Wyoming and across the United States, has called for a second request for proposals (RFP) this year after awarding nearly $6 million this month from the Clean Coal Technology Fund to support eight additional projects.

In an average year, the CCTF issues a single RFP. With nearly $6.5 million remaining in the fund, however, the CCTF is eager to move ahead with other projects that serve the fund's mission of stimulating research that would enhance and improve clean coal technologies, particularly with the use of sub-bituminous coal at high elevations.

"The CCTF believes that it is in the best interest of the state to put these remaining funds to work in a timely manner in order to achieve maximum benefit before their reversion date of June 30, 2012," says Mark Northam, director of the School of Energy Resources (SER) at the University of Wyoming, which administers the fund. "The CCTF has requested that the SER evaluate the projects funded to-date to determine how well the program is developing in terms of breadth of coverage and maturity of the technologies and then prepare a new RFP to target the specific areas of technology that are under-represented in our program."

The SER plans to post its newest RFP by Oct. 1, Northam says. The CCTF would likely make its funding decisions by January 2010.

The task force endorsed eight of 21 proposals -- covering research in the fields of carbon capture, combustion and gasification design, hydrogen separation and synthesis gas clean-up -- from the initial 2009 RFP. The eight projects, in total, received $5,992,766.

The largest allocation of funds, $1,405,750, was awarded to Sustainable Energy Solutions, to investigate a new design for a fully integrated bench-scale cryogenic carbon capture unit. It would reduce cost and energy consumption for carbon capture versus standard carbon dioxide absorption processes.

The smallest award, $106,382, was granted to UW and Brigham Young University researchers. The objective of their work is to design and build a fly ash conveying system to convert their carbon capture system, funded by the CCTF in 2007, from a batch to a continuous process.

"The members of the Clean Coal Task Force continue to be impressed with the quality of the projects submitted for this program. They were highly selective again this year, and the program is taking shape nicely," Northam says. "But, still, the task force believes a few technology gaps remain and that's why we've been asked to immediately issue one more targeted RFP."

The other CCTF-endorsed projects for 2009:

-- A $1,340,650 award to Emery Energy Company to conduct 2,000 hours of operational testing on its hybrid gasifier, the development of which was funded by the CCTF in 2007.

-- A $1 million award to the Laramie-based Western Research Institute (WRI) for a project that seeks to develop hydrogen separation technologies for coal gasification systems.

-- A $950,000 award to Ceramatec, Inc., and WRI for a project on the removal of synthesis gas pollutants and synthesis of liquid fuel.

-- A $500,000 award to the Wyoming State Geological Survey and UW for a project that aims to determine the carbon sequestration capacity of depleted gas fields in the Powder River Basin.

-- A $350,000 award to WRI, Amended Silicates, Inc., and NanoScale Corp., to develop, characterize and test sorbents for in-flight capture of pollutants in pulverized coal-derived gases.

-- A $300,000 award to The Energy and Environmental Research Center to conduct a long-term demonstration of hydrogen production from Wyoming coals.

The technology fund, which began in 2007 with just $2.5 million, is now supporting 17 projects with nearly $10.5 million in funding. Northam says two of the original four funded projects appear to be near marketability, and he expects to report significant results next fall on the five projects funded in 2008.

The CCTF will submit its recommendations from the upcoming RFP to the legislature's Joint Minerals Interim Committee before the start of the 2010 legislative session.

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