Governor Matt Mead is proposing that Wyoming set aside $15 million to open a research center focused on new uses of carbon captured from coal-fired power plants.
The state already has an institute which looks at the use of captured carbon for enhanced oil recovery, but Mead’s policy director, Shawn Reese, says this facility would be used to develop additional uses of carbon like fertilizers, building materials, biochemical products, and synthetic gases.
“CO2 has not successfully been commercialized,” says Reese. “Current carbon capture technology demonstrations are small. There are few technologies that've been tested under real world conditions. So this facility would be used to find new markets and uses for carbon.”
Coal is very important for Wyoming’s economy but its use has been decreasing nationwide, with coal fired power plants shutting down, converting to natural gas or not being built. But Reese says despite that, it’s a great time to open such a facility.
“We here in Wyoming have a long tradition of trying to find value added opportunities for our commodities. I think this is another extension of that drive to continue to find new uses for our commodities, our coal,” says Reese.
Mead wants to work with private companies on this project. He’s asking the legislature to consider making money available for his request in the upcoming budget session.