Issue Date: November 10, 2008
GE, Wyoming Strike Gasification Deal
The University of Wyoming, the State of Wyoming, and GE Energy announced a deal last week that should lead to construction of the High Plains Gasification Advanced Technology Center by 2012. The center will operate a small-scale test facility to explore gasification technologies using Powder River Basin coal, a plentiful low-sulfur but high-moisture fuel. Through the arrangement, GE will demonstrate its gasification technologies on Powder River coal, and the state will develop expertise to allow Wyoming-based companies to continue to sell the coal in what Gov. Dave Freudenthal (D) called an "evolving energy market" in which removal of carbon dioxide will become more important. Gasification technologies have the potential to lower the costs of concentration, removal, and sequestration of CO2 from coal-fired power plants. However, although gasification has been used in chemical plants, its application to power generation is new and expensive. According to state sources, Wyoming currently provides 40% of all U.S. coal used for electricity generation. Project funding will be split 50-50 between the state and GE, and the state has committed to providing $50 million by 2009.
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