Groundbreaking due April 27 on CO2 research center in Wyoming

Construction for the Wyoming Integrated Test Center, a cutting edge carbon research facility, will officially kick off April 27 at a groundbreaking ceremony at the coal-fired Dry Fork Station, owned by Basin Electric Power Cooperative and the Wyoming Municipal Power Agency.

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead will lead the groundbreaking ceremony along with representatives from Basin Electric, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE.

“I am excited to see what advancements in carbon dioxide use and opportunities in petrochemicals come from the great minds at the Integrated Test Center,” said Mead in an April 12 statement. “Wyoming leads the nation in coal production and the ITC allows us to show the same leadership in research. We are investing in the future of coal – so the industry can continue to serve Wyoming and the Nation for generations to come.”

“Basin Electric is pleased to provide the host site for this innovative project, which has much potential for our energy future,” said Paul Sukut, Basin Electric CEO and general manager. “We believe that between human and industry ingenuity, partnerships and bold leadership, we can not only create a viable future for coal, but reduce carbon dioxide emissions without adversely impacting our local economies. This project is one step in that direction, and we look forward to seeing the results of so many innovative individuals.”

“Tri-State is proud to provide financial support to the State of Wyoming for the development of the ITC,” said Mike McInnes, CEO of Tri-State G&T. “With our partners, we’ve worked tirelessly to spur a new path for entrepreneurship and innovation in carbon management, which culminates with the breaking of ground for the ITC and the hosting of the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE.”

Said James P. Spiers, Vice President Business and Technology Strategies, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association: “From distributed generation and renewable energy to cyber security and carbon capture, co-ops are collaborating with public and private interests to meet the needs of their member-consumers’ quality of life and economic prosperity for the 21st century through the delivery of safe, reliable and affordable electricity.”

“XPRIZE is excited to collaborate with ITC in this first-of-its-kind opportunity to bring low-carbon energy innovation to electric power, one of the most important technology challenges facing the world today,” said Paul Bunje, senior director and principal scientist of XPRIZE’s Energy & Environment team. “ITC gives global innovators competing in the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE a world-class space to test potentially revolutionary technologies that could change how we tackle carbon emissions and develop energy technology long into the future.”

Following the groundbreaking ceremony, a one-hour roundtable discussion will be held with Gov. Mead and representatives of partner organizations.

The ITC is a public-private partnership designed to foster the next generation of energy technology. The ITC will provide space for researchers to test Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration (CCUS) technologies using actual coal-based flue gas from the Dry Fork Station.

In 2014, with the support and encouragement of Gov. Mead, the Wyoming State Legislature allocated $15 million in funding for the design, construction and operation of an integrated test center to study the capture, sequestration and management of carbon emissions from a Wyoming coal-based power plant. An additional $5 million commitment from private industry was required under the appropriation, which has since been secured from Tri-State in addition to $1 million pledged from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Basin Electric is providing the host site as well as many additional in-kind contributions including engineering and construction management services.

The ITC is slated to be one of a handful of such facilities around the world and only the second one in the United States. While many carbon capture technologies are being developed and studied in laboratory settings, the ITC will be one of the few research and testing facilities at an operating coal-fired powered plant.

Pre-construction engineering and design work started in 2015. In March of this year, when the Dry Fork Station went into routine maintenance mode, a large steel damper was installed into the flue system that will help direct gas to researchers at the test center. The ITC is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2017.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.