UW School of Energy Resources adds integrated test center to portfolio

UW School of Energy Resources adds integrated test center to portfolio
UW School of Energy Resources adds integrated test center to portfolio(Valeria Fugate)
Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 3:57 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (PRESS RELEASE) -As Wyoming continues to support and advance carbon capture technologies, management of the Integrated Test Center (ITC) has been added to the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources’ (SER) portfolio of activities.

Formerly under the purview of the Wyoming Energy Authority, the ITC is a carbon capture and utilization test center located at Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s Dry Fork Station near Gillette. Opening its doors in 2018, the center provides space for researchers to test carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies using actual coal-based flue gas.

“The Integrated Test Center embodies a forward-thinking vision for energy innovation and is at the forefront of the testing of carbon dioxide capture technology on flue gas from a coal-fired power plant,” Gov. Mark Gordon says. “Through collaboration with industry partners like Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the ITC has laid the foundation for carbon capture innovation and is now focused on the demonstration and commercialization of carbon capture, utilization and storage technology.”

He adds that transferring management of the ITC to SER is the next step in maximizing the potential of the facility.

“SER’s research objectives and long-standing relationship with the Department of Energy will open up new funding opportunities,” Gordon says. “Under the guidance of SER, the ITC will show Wyoming is serious about practical and workable carbon-management solutions that reduce CO2 emissions while simultaneously promoting responsible, reliable and affordable energy from fossil fuels.”

The ITC has been a test site for high-profile research including the $20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition, which challenged companies to develop technologies to convert CO2 emissions from the power plant into valuable products.

Current tenants include Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) and its partner, Japan Carbon Frontier Organization (JCOAL), which are working to advance their solid sorbent capture technology, and California-based Membrane Technology and Research (MTR), which will begin its membrane carbon capture technology project as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s large-scale pilot carbon capture program.

Ground was broken recently for both projects in a ceremony attended by the governor and other prominent figures throughout Wyoming’s energy sector. KHI and JCOAL have since launched construction activities, and on-site work for MTR’s project will begin soon.

In addition to raising the profile of Wyoming as a leader in carbon capture, utilization and storage technologies and research, testing conducted at the facility will help support jobs and both local and state economies -- and, in the long term, will help electricity generation remain reliable and affordable through the implementation of promising technologies tested at the site, paired with Wyoming’s abundant natural resources. The work at the ITC complements SER’s mission to advance energy-driven economic development for the state.

“SER has been honored to collaborate with ITC stakeholders since its inception, and we look forward to continuing those relationships as we move to a management role for the facility,” says SER Executive Director Holly Krutka. “The ITC is an important component of Wyoming’s overall approach to carbon management and is a success story that supports development of new technologies aimed at driving down costs for carbon capture.”

Dry Fork Station, through the leadership by Basin Electric Power Cooperative, has multiple carbon capture, utilization and storage activities occurring on-site, in addition to the ITC and its tenants. Notably, MTR is collaborating with Wyoming stakeholders on several projects, including a large-scale front-end engineering design study and the Wyoming CarbonSAFE project led by SER, focused on commercial-scale CO2 storage.

“The ITC is one of only two testing facilities in the United States that has the ability to help developers test and scale their technologies for commercial deployment,” says Jason Begger, managing director of the ITC. “The commitment to advancing carbon-management solutions across Wyoming institutions is steadfast; the ITC team is excited to work with SER and complement the work of their current programs to advance the suite of carbon capture, utilization and storage solutions that will ensure long-term use of Wyoming’s energy resources.”

The change in management of the facility will not affect any existing projects or tenants.