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As concern over global carbon dioxide emissions grows, techniques to manage carbon become increasingly important, especially given the recent adoption of new federal regulations limiting these emissions. The Center for Economic Geology Research (CEGR) at the University of Wyoming engages in the research and development necessary to keep Wyoming at the cutting edge of geological CO2 storage, a process essential to future carbon management efforts. Carbon capture, the process of capturing and separating CO2 from emission streams, is often combined with geological sequestration and enhanced oil recovery under the umbrella term CCUS (carbon capture, utilization, and storage).
A bridging technology that will allow continued use of fossil fuels in a carbon-constrained world, CCUS involves capturing and separating CO2 from emission sources (capture), and storing it safely and permanently in geologic reservoirs deep below the earth’s surface (storage or sequestration). Utilization comes into play when the captured CO2 is first used to increase oil production in declining fields before being permanently stored in those fields. CEGR currently works exclusively on the utilization and storage components of CCUS.
Successful CO2 storage is extremely important to the continued viability of Wyoming’s natural resources, particularly coal. Currently, half of the electricity generated in the U.S. comes from coal-fired sources, and approximately 40 percent of the coal comes from Wyoming. Wyoming’s coal industry contributes more than $1.2 billion annually to the state’s economy and provides a considerable percentage of the state’s primary and secondary jobs. The federal government’s goal of an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 requires accelerated exploration of the CO2 storage technologies necessary to ensure that Wyoming coal remains a viable energy resource.
Through various research projects and cooperative initiatives, CEGR aims to speed the development and deployment of successful, safe geologic CO2 storage, both in Wyoming and elsewhere. CEGR works to address all aspects of CO2 sequestration, from initial site characterization to facility design and demonstration, legal and regulatory issues, and other challenges. CEGR also endeavors to inform and educate the public about carbon management: the institute is committed to clear and open communication and strives to supply regulators, legislators, and other stakeholders with the best science and information available. Over the next decade or more, CEGR will be integrally involved in the implementation of CO2 sequestration in Wyoming, and institute research will continue to advance the science of carbon storage across the globe.
Learn more about CEGR here: Download CEGR Brochure.