Site near Gillette chosen for emissions reduction demonstration project involving UW, partners

Wyoming News August 31, 2020



Site near Gillette chosen for emissions reduction demonstration project involving UW, partners

GILLETTE, Wyo. |  (University of Wyoming)    –   A pilot-scale demonstration project aimed at reducing emissions and the cost of electricity will proceed at Black Hills Energy’s Wyodak coal mine near Gillette. The University of Wyoming is part of the project team collaborating to advance flameless, pressurized oxy-fuel (FPO) technology.

Thursday’s announcement of the site at Black Hills Energy’s Gillette complex will enable the project to proceed into Phase 3 — large-scale testing of FPO technology — pending approval of an application to the U.S. Department of Energy.

“We’re grateful and thrilled at the opportunity to add Black Hills Energy to our project team,” says Holly Krutka, executive director of the UW School of Energy Resources (SER). “Building and operating a large-scale FPO pilot near Gillette, while still supporting the project with management, computational fluid dynamics modeling and more from UW’s Laramie campus, will help SER simultaneously meet UW’s land-grant mission while advancing a novel technology that could enable the use of Wyoming coal, natural gas, biomass and waste in a carbon-constrained world.”

The project’s objective is to test FPO technology to improve coal-fired system performance, enhancing efficiency and reducing emissions and cost of electricity. The project team is led by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and includes SER, General Electric, Sargent and Lundy, and the Electric Power Research Institute — and is now supported by Black Hills Energy.

“As a leader in providing energy to fuel the future of Wyoming, Black Hills Energy supports the advancement of technology and innovation to improve the efficiency of the energy we deliver. This FPO combustion demonstration project is important, and we are excited by the opportunity to host, support and promote the project,” says Mark Stege, vice president of Wyoming operations for Black Hills Energy. “We look forward to working with this project team toward commercialization of a promising technology.”

The host site has many attractive traits that will benefit Phase 3 of the project. The proximity to the Gillette Energy Complex will facilitate research collaboration while remaining separate so as not to interfere with commercial operations. Additionally, Black Hills Energy is partnering to provide construction, operational and maintenance support.

“This is an excellent location for the proposed site of the FPO combustion pilot plant,” says Joshua Schmitt, a senior research engineer at SwRI who is leading the project. “The resources and infrastructure necessary to operate the demonstration plant are readily available.”

From support in Cheyenne, to research at UW, to collaboration near Gillette and beyond, this project is an example of a growing partnership on technology research and development in Wyoming for Wyoming.

“The project is a flagship opportunity for the University of Wyoming, which will provide technical support and project management, including the provision of computational fluid dynamics modeling and oversight as well as analytical services to the various test campaigns,” Krutka says.

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