Arch Coal Foundation Pledges $1.5 Million to Promote Clean Coal Technology Research at University of Wyoming
“This gift from Arch Coal will help move the
The Arch Coal Foundation’s contribution will be doubled to
“We are extremely grateful for this gift from Arch Coal,” says UW President
“We’re pleased to support the university’s commendable and forward-looking efforts to maximize the value of our energy resources and minimize the impact on our environment,” says
Such technologies include coal gasification and methanation and carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and sequestration.
Coal gasification and conversion is a way to convert solid coal to gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and other fuels and petrochemicals. CO2 capture and sequestration removes greenhouse gases from industrial processes — including gasification — and stores it underground. CO2 can also be used for enhanced oil recovery.
“The Arch gift is a very, very important gift,” says
Arch’s contribution of
“What Arch really did was break the ice for UW to be able to formalize the creation of this technology center,” says
Arch has been involved in SER from its inception, and two Arch executives serve on the SER’s 11-person governing council.
Other energy industry stakeholders have also contributed to the Clean Coal Technology Center, and SER seeks to raise
“UW’s School of Energy Resources will help drive clean coal utilization research and the next generation of technological advances,” says Leer.
In addition, the Wyoming State Legislature has appropriated a total of
“We want to build a center on campus that, for the next few years, will allow our research personnel to prepare to use the High Plains Gasification Advanced Technology Center research facility,” says Northam. “They will collaborate across the colleges as a team to do the preliminary work required in order to seek outside funding for the research they’re going to do.”
The UW/GE High Plains Gasification Advanced Technology Center will consist of a small-scale gasification system that will allow researchers to develop advanced coal gasification technologies for
SER itself was created in 2006 to facilitate interdisciplinary academic and research programs at UW that address critical energy-related issues.
The mission of SER is to integrate UW’s significant energy-related talent and resources to develop tomorrow’s energy workforce and technologies to ensure a secure and sustainable energy future for the state, region, and nation. It also communicates with, and brings together, the energy industry stakeholders.
The Clean Coal Technology Center is just one of the research centers that are being established through the efforts of SER at UW. At present there are eight total, with two more in the planning stages. In addition to the High Plains Gasification Center, examples include the Center for Energy Economics, the Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute, and the Coal Bed Methane Research Center.
Basic coal conversion technologies have been around a long time, some since World War I. The reason that clean coal technology is such a focus now, says Northam, is concern over CO2 emissions, the rising dependence upon imported oil, and the desire of coal-producing states such as
“The USA derives more than 50% of its electricity from burning coal,” says Northam. “If coal were to be eliminated from that market because of concerns over emissions, the whole country would be in dire straights.”
“As we look toward the future, which will likely include some form of carbon dioxide regulation, these types of technologies will enable coal to be a viable fuel for the nation and the world for many years to come,” says Governor Freudenthal.
“A partnership with the coal industry from a clean coal technology standpoint is an important agenda for the State of Wyoming,” says Blalock. “It’s an agenda for our governor, and it’s critical that UW, from an academic standpoint, partners with industry to ensure an emphasis on research that is critical for the ongoing strength of the coal industry for generations to come, ultimately having a positive impact on the state of
In 2008, legislation established that surface owners control the underground pore spaces where carbon dioxide could be stored or sequestered and that the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality is the authority to regulate the long-term storage of carbon dioxide.
In 2009, legislation established that mining and drilling rights will be prioritized over geologic sequestration activities; that the ownership and liability for sequestered CO2 belong to the injector; and that pore space rights from multiple parties would be aggregated for the purposes of a carbon storage project as long as 80 percent of the parties approve the project.
“The only thing that’s really missing now in our legislative toolbox for sequestration is the liability piece: who is going to be responsible for financial assurance for the process,” says Northam. “That’s really the stickiest issue because this is a very long term process.”
A Carbon Sequestration Working Group, which includes Northam, is currently working on this issue.
The Arch Coal Foundation was formed in
SOURCE Arch Coal, Inc.