GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) – Carbon energy experts told a U.S. Senate environmental committee Wednesday that Wyoming wants to expand its carbon research influence by finding ways to capture and reuse waste carbon dioxide.
Committee Chairman and Republican U.S. Sen. John Barrasso heard testimony from three carbon energy experts, The Gillette News Record reported.
The hearing was held at the Integrated Test Center, located at Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s Dry Fork Station, 7 miles (11 kilometers) north of Gillette.
Barrasso said it’s time for the federal government to support carbon research that allows for the continued use of the Powder River Basin’s cheap and abundant coal.
“Just outside these doors is a world-class facility where research is underway to study how we can create commercial value from carbon dioxide that would otherwise just go up into the air,” Barrasso said.
Carbon XPrize Executive Director Marcius Extavour was one of the experts in attendance and said his organization has created incentives for successful research. The XPrize has set up a prize pool of $20 million that will be distributed to teams that show the most promise in carbon capturing research.
Extavour stressed the importance of creating business opportunities out of reducing the carbon intensity of energy and industrial sectors.
“The challenge is making the technology efficient enough and making materials that are valuable enough to be able to attract capital, drive down costs and support scale-up and deployment,” he said.
Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi encouraged more federal focus on carbon and the state’s leadership in developing carbon dioxide research. Enzi is not a committee member.
“I used to be mayor here (Gillette), and the (motto) for the city is The Energy Capital of the Nation,” he said. “And that’s because in this county, we have more Btus of energy than Saudi Arabia has. We can utilize that or pass it over.”
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