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Published August 19, 2020
The executive director of the University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources (SER) laid out UW’s efforts to drive innovation and deployment of climate-focused technologies during a U.S. Senate committee field hearing today (Wednesday) in Gillette.
Speaking to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Holly Krutka said development of technologies such as carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) is a priority for Wyoming and its university.
“Wyoming is an ideal place to drive innovation and deployment of climate-focused technologies … because the state boasts vast fundamental subsurface knowledge, world-class research programs, the ability to execute large demonstration projects, and the will to drive technology development with the necessary policy support that can ultimately result in commercialization,” Krutka said. “While we face many challenges in the global energy sector and with widespread deployment of CCUS, Wyoming stands ready to help and has the necessary tools to make CCUS and other energy technologies a commercial reality.”
The field hearing was led by the committee chairman, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., at Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s Dry Fork Station power plant. Krutka was one of several speakers who addressed Wyoming’s continuing push to be a global leader in carbon research and innovation.
Among the UW efforts she highlighted:
-- The Center of Innovation for Flow through Porous Media, led by Professor Mohammad Piri, in UW’s High Bay Research Facility. Krutka described it as, “to the best of my knowledge, the world’s largest experimental research facility focused on flow through porous media problems with applications in hydrocarbon recovery, geologic sequestration of greenhouse gases and more.”
-- Work to “reimagine the use of coal,” including development of a process to create products such as soil amendments, building materials, asphalt replacements and electro-spun carbon fiber mats that could be used for energy storage.
-- Development of a dry methane reforming catalyst that uses CO2 and natural gas to generate syngas, creating hydrogen at half the cost of current steam methane forming technologies.
-- SER’s Center for Economic Geology Research, which through its CarbonSAFE (Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise) project is investigating the commercial feasibility of storing CO2 underground near Dry Fork Station.
-- The Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute, which is driving technologies to sequester CO2 while producing oil with increasing efficiency.
-- SER’s Center for Energy Regulation and Policy Analysis, which is conducting energy policy studies focused on Wyoming’s economy.
Krutka said SER is focused on energy-driven economic development for Wyoming, “which means that we’re focused on technologies that will help support the needs of Wyoming and its energy customers.” That includes work to “diversify Wyoming’s economy and to maintain competitiveness in a low-carbon energy future.”