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The Minerals to Value Added Products Facility study reflects the Advanced Conversion Technologies Task Force's broadening scope to include conversion of other minerals besides coal into value-added fuels and products. A University of Wyoming news release, "Gas, Coal Conversion Projects Gain Funding," released on June 29, 2012, also explains the study's purpose.
In the Sixty-First Legislature of the State of Wyoming 2012 Budget Session House Bill No. 0121, Enrolled Act No. 25, House of Representatives was passed by the full Legislature and signed into law by Governor Mead. This legislation states in part:
(vi) (A) Five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000.00) to the Universityof Wyoming School of Energy Resources for the purpose of providing grants to conduct one (1) or more studies to determine the feasibility of constructing a commercial scale minerals to value added products facility in Wyoming. All studies, data and analysis produced using funds from this appropriation shall be the property of the state of Wyoming. Grants authorized under this paragraph shall be awarded by the clean coal task force pursuant to W.S. 21-17-121. The studies shall identify:
(I) Whether a commercial scale facility which converts minerals to value added products would be economically viable in Wyoming given projected energy prices and regulatory trends;
(II Attributes unique to the state of Wyoming which mitigate for and against construction of a commercial scale minerals to value added products facility in the state;
(III) The best available technologies for the commercial scale conversion of minerals to value added products in Wyoming;
(IV) Potential obstacles to the construction of a minerals to value added products facility in Wyoming and possible strategies to address those obstacles, including, but not limited to the following:
(1) Regional and national political climate;
(2) Economic issues;
(3) Regulatory issues; and
(V) Potential input sources of minerals and water for the facility and potential markets for the final value added product and any other products created during the conversion process;
(VI) Whether, and at what level and in what form, state support is necessary for the development of such a project. The study shall identify possible state incentives available for the construction of a commercial scale minerals to value added products facility and determine which incentives are likely to have the most benefit to industry and the citizens of the state of Wyoming.
The School of Energy Resources (SER) issued an RFP on April 20, 2012 with a required response date of May 25, 2012. Fourteen (14) proposals from thirteen (13) different organizations were received.
A team of ten (10) reviewers were chosen for their knowledge of the subject to review two (2) to(3) proposals each such that each proposal had two independent reviews performed based on the criteria of the RFP.
SER presented a ranking of all of the proposals to the Clean Coal Task Force (CCTF) on June 18, 2012. The CCTF voted to fund two proposals as follows:
Western Research Institute (WRI) proposal called "Distributed Production of Fuels & Chemicals from Stranded Natural Gas." WRI was awarded a contract in the amount of $162,000 to complete the draft technical report by August 17, 2012.
ARCTECH,Inc. proposal called "Techno-Economic Analysis of MicGASTM Coal Biorefinery Plants Deployment in Wyoming for Moving the Wyoming Coals up the Value Chain". ARCTECH was awarded a contract in the amount of $329,243 to complete the draft technical report by August 17, 2012.
Both studies will be reviewed by the ACTTF and approved for final issue of the study reports. An executive summary of the study results are to be presented to the Joint Minerals and Economic Development subcommittee of the Wyoming Legislature in their September meeting.