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The University of Wyoming will unveil one of the nation’s most advanced energy research facilities with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday, Sept. 12.
The Energy Innovation Center (EIC), home of the School of Energy Resources, is a state-of-the-art research and collaboration facility that represents a major step forward in efforts by Wyoming and its university to work in public-private partnerships to solve the nation’s energy challenges.
“We’re excited for people to get a look at this fabulous facility where so much important work will take place to benefit our state, the nation and the world,” UW President Bob Sternberg says. “Building a sustainable energy future is such an important objective, and the Energy Innovation Center represents the kind of public-private partnership that is essential for the university to fulfill its mission of teaching, research and service.”
The Sept. 12 ceremony begins at 11 a.m. in the EIC, located on the north side of the Laramie campus at Lewis and 10th streets. Scheduled speakers include Gov. Matt Mead, Sternberg, UW Board of Trustees President Dave Bostrom and School of Energy Resources Director Mark Northam. School of Energy Resources staff members will provide tours of the facility following the ribbon cutting.
The $25.4 million Energy Innovation Center, built with private donations and state matching dollars, includes nearly 27,300 square feet of highly technical research space, offices, classrooms and meeting rooms. The EIC provides students, researchers and academic professionals the opportunity to actively engage in, observe and support advancements in sustainable energy technologies.
Encana provided the largest private donation for the EIC -- a $5 million commitment in 2007 -- that was matched by the state. Encana gifted another $2 million to UW for three new engineering research laboratories. The Encana Research Laboratory and the Encana Integrated Simulation Data Center are located in the nearby College of Engineering and Applied Science Building.
Neilson and Associates, BP America, Shell, Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, Anadarko, Marathon, Ultra Petroleum, Questar, Hess Corporation and ConocoPhillips are other major EIC and SER funding contributors.
The building’s features include:
• The Shell 3-D Visualization Laboratory, a three-dimensional visualization lab where scientists and engineers can visualize and interact with highly complex data sets. One of the lab’s many capabilities is the ability to model oil, gas and water movements in the Earth’s subsurface.
• The Hess Digital Rock Physics Laboratory, the world’s most modern lab for experimental investigation of multi-phase fluid flow through porous media. UW’s researchers are leading this field of study, which helps producers recover oil and gas from conventional and unconventional reservoirs.
• The Enhanced Oil Recovery Research Laboratory, where researchers test and observe the feasibility and stability of various enhanced oil recovery methods with reservoir rock and fluids. The lab helps producers recover more oil from Wyoming fields, specifically those considered mature, where more than half of the state’s oil reserves remain stranded.
• The Peabody Energy Advanced Coal Technology Laboratory, where researchers explore converting low-value fossil resources such as gas and coal into higher-value products including liquid fuels and manufactured products.
• The WPX Drilling Simulator Teaching Laboratory, which provides students and educators with a fully visualized and interactive simulation experience of drilling rigs.
• The BP Collaboration Center, an innovative, reconfigurable space that includes technology to connect UW researchers, academics and industry stakeholders with associates anywhere in the world.
• The Encana Auditorium, an easily configurable classroom fully equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual technology.
• The Arch Coal Research Offices, equipped with office space for visiting professionals and researchers from other universities and industry.
• The Cordillera Energy Partners Reception Area, which serves as a sitting room, study area and gathering space for visitors, students and in-house professionals.
• The Ultra Petroleum Corporation Student Area, providing students with space to study and interact.
• The Marathon Oil Research Offices, equipped with office space for visiting professionals and researchers from other universities and industry.
• The ConocoPhillips Collaboration Room, designed to bring researchers, industry stakeholders, faculty and other professionals together to coordinate research projects conducted in the Hess Digital Rock Physics Laboratory.
• The Questar Conference Room, equipped with a long conference table, cameras and audio for video-teleconferencing.
For more details about the EIC, go to https://www.uwyo.edu/ser/building/index.html.
The School of Energy Resources was created by the Wyoming State Legislature in 2006 to enhance the university’s energy-related education, research and outreach. The school features nine centers of excellence dedicated to the study of enhanced oil recovery, carbon management, advanced coal technology, wind energy and other fields of energy research.
Students study in one of the open areas of the new Energy Innovation Center at the University of Wyoming. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new facility is planned for 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 12. (UW Photo)