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Twenty-five University of Wyoming faculty members and administrators were in Sweetwater County Friday touring two different trona mines and meeting with local legislators and community leaders.
The UW group was on the Wyoming Rendevous Tour, an outreach program mainly for new faculty members.
The Rendezvous Tour provides UW faculty with an opportunity to visit a region of Wyoming and to gain an appreciation for the geography, cultures and economy of the state. Residents and community and state leaders have an opportunity to meet and become better acquainted with UW personnel and to share professional interests.
Faculty members, representing disciplines in agriculture, accounting, social work, international studies, chemistry, history, sociology, criminal justice, mathematics and the arts, were divided into two groups. One group toured the FMC Corp. trona mine Friday morning while the other visited Solvay Chemicals.
The UW group then hosted a dinner Friday at the Krazy Moose restaurant in Green River. Ron Surdam, director of the Carbon Management Institute in the UW School of Energy Resources discussed latest research work, especially related to Sweetwater County.
UW earlier this month received $5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as part of a nearly $600 million funding boost to accelerate carbon capture and storage research and development in the United States, an investment in the country's development of clean coal technologies. UW was among 22 projects in 15 states to receive DOE funding totaling $575 million.
The funding allocated to UW will be used for the first phase of the Wyoming Carbon Underground Storage Project (WY-CUSP), a detailed geologic storage site characterization project in Sweetwater County. It will benefit future industrial carbon dioxide storage projects by distinguishing regional storage opportunities.
WY-CUSP's main goal is to acquire the technical knowledge required to plan and execute CO2 storage demonstration on the Rock Springs Uplift, which has been characterized by the Wyoming State Geological Survey as the most promising geological CO2 storage site in the state.
Also attending the dinner from UW were Provost Myron Allen; Bill Gern, vice president for research and development; and Don Richards, director of governmental and community affairs.
Among the local community leaders attending were area legislators Sen. John Hastert; representatives Allen Jaggi and Joseph Barbuto; Green River and Rock Springs mayors Hank Castillon and Tim Kaumo; UW Trustee Betty Fear of Big Piney; Sweetwater County Commissioners Debby Boese and Randy Walker; Western Wyoming Community College President Karla Leach and Board President James Roth; and Troy Archuleta, UW Outreach Regional Office academic coordinator.
The UW group also scheduled a tour of Jonah Field in Pinedale Saturday and an overnight stop in Saratoga the same day before heading back to campus Sunday afternoon.
For more information, call Milton D. Ontiveroz, UW communications specialist, at (307) 399-6116.