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New Director Selected to Lead UW School of Energy Resources

February 19, 2020
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Holly Krutka

A scientist and administrator who has spent much of her career advancing carbon capture has been selected to lead the University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources (SER).

Holly Krutka, currently the vice president for coal generation and emissions technologies with Peabody, will succeed Mark Northam as SER’s executive director. Northam is retiring after nearly 13 years at the helm of SER as its founding director.

Krutka’s appointment was approved today (Wednesday) by the UW Board of Trustees, following a national search by UW’s Energy Resources Council, which advises SER on priorities for research and outreach. She’s scheduled to start at UW March 9.

“We’re delighted that Dr. Krutka has agreed to lead the School of Energy Resources at this important juncture in the school’s history -- and at a crucial time for Wyoming’s energy industry,” UW Acting President Neil Theobald says. “We’re confident that her experience and energy will help SER continue to find solutions to the energy challenges facing our state, the nation and the world. Her experience in the coal industry will be especially valuable here in Wyoming, the nation’s leading coal producer.”

Krutka holds a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma, both in chemical engineering. In her role with Peabody, much of her focus has been on carbon management strategies through application of carbon capture, use and storage. Additionally, she has worked to identify nontraditional coal-consumption opportunities.

“I look forward to leading a portfolio of academic, research and outreach programs at SER,” Krutka says. “Mark’s leadership, coupled with the expertise, passion and dedication of the faculty and staff, has laid a strong foundation to build upon. I look forward to a smooth transition and continued focus on innovative technologies and policies to support growth within Wyoming’s robust energy sectors. Through previous interactions with professionals at SER, the university and across the state, I know firsthand that people are one of Wyoming’s strongest assets. My family and I are thrilled to become part of this broader community.”

Before going to work for Peabody in 2017, Krutka served as a senior research and development analyst for Tri-State Generation and Transmission, an electric generation and transmission cooperative based in Westminster, Colo.; as executive editor of Cornerstone, the official journal of the world coal industry, on behalf of China-based Shenhua Group; and as a research scientist and senior research engineer with ADA Environmental Solutions in Highlands Ranch, Colo., where she was responsible for launching a carbon capture research program.

Krutka has been a member of the National Coal Council since 2013 and serves on the Executive Committee and as chair of the Coal Policy Committee; is a judge on the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition; and speaks frequently as a carbon capture technical professional.

She is an advocate for collaborative approaches to public and private-sector partnerships to advance technology innovation. Krutka holds several patents and helped to secure over $20 million in research funding from the U.S. Department of Energy focused on the development of adsorption-based carbon dioxide capture.

“We are very excited to have Holly lead the School of Energy Resources through its next phase of evolution and during the energy transition for the state and the nation. She loves Wyoming, she loves technology, and she loves energy, making her acceptance of this opportunity a win-win-win for her, the school and the state,” says Cindy Crane, Energy Resources Council chairwoman.

SER provides undergraduate and graduate education; conducts research on existing and emerging industry resources; and disseminates scientific, engineering and economic information to support Wyoming’s near- and long-term energy future.

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