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Clean Coal Task Force Funds 12 Projects

January 20, 2011
People observing new construction
Scientists and engineers tour Emery Energy's gasifier at Western Research Institute's site north of Laramie. The Clean Coal Task Force recommended a $285,000 supplemental request, to complete construction of the gasifier. (WRI)

The Clean Coal Task Force (CCTF) is again working overtime.

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, will call for a second request for proposals (RFP) for the second consecutive year.

In its first round of awards for 2010, the CCTF endorsed 12 projects -- covering research in the fields of carbon capture, combustion and gasification design, coal-to-hydrogen conversion and post-combustion methods -- 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 also recommended a $285,000 supplemental request for Emery Energy's 2007 project, to complete construction of a gasifier.

"The state's investment in advanced technologies to lower the carbon impact of coal utilization and to expand markets for Powder River Basin coal is stimulating innovation," says Mark Northam, director of the School of Energy Resources (SER) at the University of Wyoming, which administers the fund. "The Clean Coal Task Force is eager to put the remaining funds to work by funding the highest impact research."

The 12 approved projects from the initial 2010 RPF received $6,992,300, leaving about $7 million remaining for additional projects. A second RPF will be issued Jan. 31, by the SER.

The largest allocation of funds, $1,330,344, was awarded to the UW Department of Renewable Resources to conduct a three-year test of the SequesTech process to capture post-combustion carbon dioxide (CO²) from flue gas using fly ash particles at the Jim Bridger power plant in Sweetwater County.

The smallest award, $420,004, was granted to Brigham Young University to develop simple, low-cost and environmentally sound methods to prepare high-performance, iron-base Fischer-Tropsch catalysts that can be scaled to commercial manufacture.

The Energy and Environmental Research Center received three endorsements:  A $500,000 award to evaluate the feasibility of using dry cooling technology to meet the cooling needs of power plants located in arid environments; $280,156 to design, fabricate, demonstrate and evaluate an advanced contracting device that uses solvents for capturing CO²; and $150,000 to determine if bromine compounds and/or brominated carbons interfere with Continuous Mercury Monitor results.

The Laramie-based Western Research Institute and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) both received two approvals.

The WRI was awarded $1.1 million, the second-largest allocation, to build and test a metallic membrane-based hydrogen separation device to operate on simulated and coal-derived synthesis gas, and evaluate performance criteria of the device.

The second WRI award was for $450,000 to evaluate the heat and mass transfer properties and reaction kinetics of FT reactions in the Compact Heat Exchange Reactor (CHER).

The LLNL received a pair of $500,000 awards. One project will recover, modernize and consolidate much of the historic test data from the UCG tests performed in Wyoming during the 1970s and ‘80s. The second project will develop a conceptual custom design for treating saline formation waters that are produced to create accommodation space for CO² to be stored in geologic formations in Wyoming.

The other CCTF-endorsed projects for 2010:

  •   A $596,105 award to Ceramatec to demonstrate the scale-up of a novel Fischer-Tropsch unit using syngas generated by gasification of Wyoming coal for conversion to JP5 fuel.
  •  A $540,691 award to the University of Utah to determine the effects of oxy-combustion of Powder River Basin coals on boiler tube deposits and mercury speciation.
  •   A $340,000 award to TDA Research, Inc., to demonstrate a process to make ultrapure hydrogen from coal by using a system based on coal gasification, warm-gas desulfurization and sulfur-tolerant, high-temperature membrane reactors.

The technology fund, which began in 2007 with just $2.5 million, is now supporting 33 projects with nearly $24 million in funding from the state and $28 million in outside funding.

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