U.S. Department of Energy officials visit Dry Fork Station, Dry Fork Mine

people standing by carbon dioxide well site
Visitors got a look at Wyoming CarbonSAFE's carbon dioxide test well site near the Dry Fork Station.

Officials from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) visited the Dry Fork Station and Dry Fork Mine near Gillette, Wyoming, on June 13.

John Litynski, director of Carbon Transport and Storage, along with Emily Grubert, deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management; Noah Deich, acting director of Carbon Removal and CO2 (carbon dioxide) Conversion Division; and Kyle Smith, federal project manager for the Carbon Transport and Storage Team for the National Energy Technology Laboratory, heard presentations and toured several areas during the visit.

Jim Sheldon, Basin Electric supervisor of reliability and performance engineering, gave an update on Basin Electric’s carbon capture activities and storage research, including the work that has been done at the Wyoming Integrated Test Center, which is located at the Dry Fork Station. “We believe in an all-of-the-above energy strategy at Basin Electric and research like this helps us learn whether carbon capture is an investment our membership will want to make,” Sheldon said. “We’re involved in these research projects to educate ourselves, not only about capturing and storing carbon dioxide generally, but also specifically for the Dry Fork Station.”

Holly Krutka, University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources (SER) executive director, gave an overview of work being done with the Wyoming CarbonSAFE project. Wyoming CarbonSAFE, launched in 2016 and currently in Phase III, is focused on determining the feasibility of carbon capture underground near Dry Fork Station. “Coal plays an important role in Wyoming’s economy and a facility dedicated to utilizing one of Wyoming’s most abundant resources in new and sustainable ways is advantageous for all of us,” Krutka said.

Fred McLaughlin, director of SER’s Center for Economic Geology Research, said the opportunity to have conversations with the people supporting technology development is vital. “The work at SER is supported by the state of Wyoming and federal grant funding, and we are reliant on the generous support from all our stakeholders and project partners,” McLaughlin said. “We hope that the first-hand experience offered through this visit demonstrated the level of innovation and the collective commitment of Wyoming to clean and economic energy solutions.”

Representatives from Membrane Technology and Research (MTR) and the Wyoming Business Council were also in attendance. MTR has completed a Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) study on carbon capture technology, which gives stakeholders an idea of the cost of implementing the project at the size needed to capture 70% of the carbon dioxide emitted from Dry Fork Station.

MTR plans to begin construction later this year on a 10-megawatt equivalent pilot project at Dry Fork Station to test its technology. If the project remains on schedule, results from the pilot project can be expected in late 2024. “We will continue to evaluate opportunities to partner with DOE, MTR, and the University of Wyoming through CarbonSAFE to advance carbon capture technology after we have fully analyzed data from the FEED study as well as pilot plant operation,” Sheldon said.

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