Governor Matt Mead recently attended an Advanced Coal Technology Conference in Australia. Eight students from the University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources joined him.
Graduate student Mary Kate McCarney is a geochemist who attended the coal conference. She said she appreciated the fact that students were included in the conversation at the conference.
“I think there’s a lot of investment in understanding that these issues aren’t going to be solved in one generation. So to get students involved in that conversation as early as possible is definitely something that SER and really the whole university system prioritizes,” McCarney says.
In Australia, McCarney visited a coal-fired power plant and the country’s largest coal-exporting port. She says she was impressed by the speed at which coal technology is being developed in China.
“The Chinese have a pilot and demo project. They’ve evolved from theoretical models to laboratory experiments to actually putting it into practice at an industrial scale,” she says. “I would say in the United States, we’ve kind of lagged behind in terms of those large-scale demonstrations. The Chinese have not.”
McCarney says her take-away from the conference was that the technology Wyoming needs to burn coal with zero carbon emissions is already available for the taking.