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Graphical Abstract Open in new tabDownload slide 1 Our mission The School of Energy Resources (SER) at the University of Wyoming (UW) was created in 2006 to enhance the university’s energy-related education, research and outreach. SER directs and integrates cutting-edge energy research and academic programmes at UW and bridges academics and industry through targeted outreach programmes. 2 Research centres of excellence With an emphasis on research, innovation and the commercialization of energy resources, centres of excellence (COEs) bring together faculty and graduate students from multiple disciplines to develop important energy research programmes. COEs evolve with time; new groups may form to work on emerging challenges, while some centres may disband as their programmes are completed. Highlights of a few of the COEs are described below. 2.1 Center for Economic Geology Research The Center for Economic Geology Research (CEGR) engages in the research and development necessary to keep Wyoming at the cutting edge of geological CO2 storage. Through various research projects and cooperative initiatives, the CEGR aims to speed the development and deployment of successful, safe geologic CO2 storage, both in Wyoming and elsewhere. 2.1.1 Wyoming CarbonSAFE The CEGR currently leads the Wyoming CarbonSAFE project—a Department of Energy (DOE)-funded initiative that aims to investigate a safe, permanent geologic storage solution for CO2 in Gillette, Wyoming. The research that cost-shares from project partners is sited adjacent to Basin Electric’s Dry Fork power station (Figs 1–3). Fig. 1: Open in new tabDownload slide The drill spinning on the test site ultimately reached a depth of 3009 m (9873 ft) Fig. 2: Open in new tabDownload slide The test-well drill site is located in Campbell County, Wyoming, adjacent to the Dry Forks Power Station Fig. 3: Open in new tabDownload slide Over 190 m (625 ft) of core samples were extracted from the drill site to analyse the various geologic formations underground Announced in 2016, the US DOE’s Carbon Storage Assurance and Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE) programme is intended to support the development of several large-scale integrated carbon capture and storage projects by the 2025 timeframe. Each project must capture and geologically store in one or more saline reservoirs a minimum of 50 million metric tons (Mt) of CO2 (or ~2 million metric tons of CO2/year over a 25-year project life) with the preferred CO2 source being a coal-fired power plant. Each project must additionally demonstrate that it is ‘economically viable’, which will require the development of business cases involving the utilization of CO2 such as enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR). The Wyoming CarbonSAFE project is one of five carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) project sites that has advanced into Phase III of the investigation. 2.1.2 US–China Clean Energy Research Center (CERC) The CEGR is a founding partner of the US–China CERC—a US DOE effort to foster the collaborative research and development of CCUS technology between the USA and China. This partnership will accelerate the rapid development of clean-coal technology in both countries while forging meaningful relationships between American and Chinese researchers, and advancing US and Chinese leadership in energy technology and innovation. The CEGR is working closely with Chinese researchers from Shaanxi Province to characterize and evaluate the geological CO2-storage potential of the Majiagou Limestone at a site near Yulin in the Ordos Basin of Shaanxi Province, which contains China’s largest coal resource. CEGR researchers will also evaluate the potential for enhanced oil recovery via CO2 flooding in the basin. Post-characterization research will involve subsurface injection simulation and risk assessment. This research is imperative because existing coal-to-liquid and coal-to-chemical plants in this area currently vent >30 million tons of highly concentrated CO2 annually. With its partners, the CEGR aims to use the results of this research to pave the way for successful CO2 storage in the Ordos Basin. Other CERC partners will focus on project management, integrated industrial-process modelling, novel capture-technology development, coal conversion and utilization, CO2 utilization and international integration and communication. 2.2 Center for Carbon Capture and Conversion The Carbon Engineering Initiative in the Center for Carbon Capture and Conversion focuses on supporting existing markets and creating new markets for Wyoming coal. The goal of the programme is to develop new high-volume uses for coal, like converting coal into valuable marketable products. In a programmatic partnership with the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the SER brings together many research groups to delve into the potential commercial properties of higher-value coal products from Wyoming coal. Products under development through the initiative include building materials, road and roofing products and resins, coal-derived asphalt, agricultural soil amendments, medical carbons and carbon reinforcement as by-products (Fig. 4). Fig. 4: Open in new tabDownload slide Technology and coal-derived commercial products developed at the Center for Carbon Capture and Conversion 3 Shell 3D Visualization Center The Energy Innovation Center (EIC)’s Shell 3D Visualization Center (Viz Center) proudly houses the only four-walled, 3D CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) in Wyoming. The Viz Center beautifully complements the primary function of the EIC—to enable scientists and engineers to visualize and interact with highly complex data sets. The Shell 3D Visualization research laboratory is an amazing tool for discovery and is open to the UW community as a university-wide teaching and learning resource. By utilizing visualization technology and embracing collaborative multidisciplinary opportunities, the Viz Center creates and maintains a community of empowered users who will drive the enhancement of teaching and research at UW. Designed, engineered and integrated by Mechdyne Corporation, one of the world’s leading providers of innovative visual-information technologies, the laboratory combines high-resolution stereoscopic projections and 3D computer graphics to create a virtual environment in which researchers can analyse, interpret and share a wide variety of spatially related data. One of the laboratory’s many capabilities is its ability to model oil, gas and water movements and interactions in the subsurface environment, which will aid researchers and energy companies in deriving maximum value from their mineral resources (Fig. 5). The laboratory connects via 10-gigabit lines to one of the most powerful supercomputers in the region—the Wyoming National Center for Atmospheric Research Supercomputing Center (NWSC) located west of Cheyenne and UW’s Advanced Research Computing Center (ARCC)—both of which are essential for the complex simulations required in today’s energy research. Fig. 5: Open in new tabDownload slide A student projects a research project onto the 3D-CAVE in order to gain a better understanding of the data 4 Summary With a determination to build an economically and environmentally sound future for the people of Wyoming, the SER at UW supports energy-driven economic development in Wyoming. The SER directs and integrates cutting-edge energy research and academic programmes at UW and bridges academics and industry through targeted outreach programmes. © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of National Institute of Clean-and-Low-Carbon Energy This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact email@example.com © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of National Institute of Clean-and-Low-Carbon Energy
Clean Energy – Oxford University Press
Published: Dec 31, 2020
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