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GE Energy has signed a letter of intent with the University of Wyoming, countersigned by Gov. Dave Freudenthal, to develop an advanced gasification research and technology center in Wyoming.
The proposed center would consist of a small-scale gasification system that would allow UW and GE researchers to develop advanced coal gasification technology solutions for Powder River Basin (PRB) and other Wyoming coals.
GE is a leader in cleaner coal integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) and gasification technology, which has been in use at the 230-megawatt TECO Polk I Station in Florida for more than 10 years. The company currently offers a 630-megawatt commercial-scale plant that produces 75 percent less Sox (oxides of sulfur), 33 percent less NOx (oxides of nitrogen), 40 percent less particulate matter, captures 90 percent more mercury and uses 30 percent less water than a pulverized coal plant. Duke Energy, AEP and other utilities in the eastern U.S. have committed to using GE's IGCC technology in proposed projects.
"GE Energy and the University of Wyoming recognize that IGCC provides a cleaner alternative for power generation and has significant cost and efficiency advantages when integrated with carbon capture and sequestration. As part of the effort to accelerate IGCC technology, GE Energy is working to expand its proven gasification technology from bituminous coals to Powder River Basin and other Wyoming coals," said John Lavelle, general manager of GE Energy's gasification business. "This facility will aid in the accelerated adoption of IGCC and gasification for use on higher moisture coals such as PRB."
Wyoming is uniquely positioned in the nation's energy landscape and has vast coal reserves capable of supporting a substantial portion of the nation's energy needs. In 2006, Wyoming's coal industry produced 420 million tons of coal, fueling more than 30 percent of the national electrical power generation needs.
"This advanced research facility has the potential to position the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources, in close collaboration with the College of Engineering and Applied Science and the Western Research Institute, as the global center of excellence in coal gasification research, building a pipeline of scientists and engineers with significant expertise in cleaner coal technologies," said UW President Tom Buchanan.