CHEYENNE, WY – The Wyoming Energy Authority has announced today that two separate projects will be recommended to the Governor to receive funds from the Energy Matching Funds (EMF). The first is a project by The University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources (SER) in partnership with Frontier Carbon Solutions (Frontier), and the second is a project by BWXT Advanced Technologies LLC – both have been recommended to be awarded in full.
In 2022, the Wyoming Legislature appropriated $100 million to the Office of the Governor to provide matching funds for private or federal funding for research, demonstration, pilot projects or commercial deployment projects related to Wyoming energy needs including, but not limited to, carbon capture utilization and storage, carbon dioxide transportation, industrial carbon capture, coal refinery, and hydrogen production, transportation, storage, hydrogen hub development, biomass, biochar, hydropower, lithium, processing and separation, battery storage or wind and solar energy.
The Governor delegated the management of the EMF to the Wyoming Energy Authority (WEA) in an effort to leverage Wyoming-based projects that are applying for federal funding. The Legislature made an additional $50 million available in 2023, including provisions and notice requirements.
SER, along with Frontier as a contributor to the project, have been recommended to receive $9,135,000 for their Sweetwater Carbon Storage Hub project. The Department of Energy (DOE) recently selected the SER-led project to negotiate a proposed $40.55MM award for a CarbonSAFE Phase III award issued under the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) in support of developing the Sweetwater Carbon Storage Hub. The funds awarded from EMF will serve as a committed cost share towards expediting the first commercial-scale carbon storage hub in southwest Wyoming, with proceeds earmarked directly for capital and operating investment in the project.
The project will be led by a team comprised of researchers from SER’s Center for Economic Geology Research and Frontier Carbon Solutions, the owner and operator of the hub. The Sweetwater Carbon Storage Hub will work to further legitimize efforts for large-scale carbon sequestration in Southwestern Wyoming by seeking to complete site characterization and preparation for permitting Class VI wells. The potential of successful large-scale carbon sequestration poses a myriad of benefits to Wyoming – including extending the life of Wyoming’s legacy resources by providing carbon management solutions for difficult-to-abate industrial processes. Additional benefits could potentially include new revenue streams from pore space usage, new job opportunities, and increased business activity.
“Frontier is greatly appreciative and encouraged by this recommendation to award a grant from the EMF, which will have a tangible impact on the development of the Sweetwater Carbon Storage Hub,” said Steven Lowenthal, Co-CEO of Frontier. “We are grateful to SER for leading this project and for the support from the State of Wyoming for making Wyoming a world-class destination for the development of carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration infrastructure.”
BWXT Advanced Technologies LLC (BWXT AT), a subsidiary of BWX Technologies, Inc., has been recommended to receive $9,999,802 of the $20,589,751 required to execute its project: an Assessment of Microreactor Deployment, Applications and Development of Nuclear Microreactor Technologies and Knowhow in the State of Wyoming. The distribution of EMF will be in two phases. The company will leverage its existing cost share partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s risk reduction segment of the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program.
Under this project, BWXT AT will assess the viability of deploying small-scale nuclear reactors in the state as a supplement to existing power generation resources to meet growing energy needs. BWXT AT will identify areas where Wyoming’s existing supply chain can demonstrate capabilities for reactor component manufacturing and also support reactor deployment. Separately, BWXT will perform engineering work to investigate how its microreactor design could integrate into Wyoming’s future power needs.
By planning for a lead microreactor to demonstrate the coupling of process heat and power to Wyoming’s industries, BWXT AT’s ultimate goal is to bolster the Wyoming extraction industries through carbon-free production of electricity and high-temperature process heat. If built, a lead microreactor would serve as a demonstration plant for a potential fleet of microreactors that could be deployed across the state and region. The conceptual design of the lead microreactor would allow for cost estimates for design, testing, fabrication, construction, and licensing to be developed and determine and demonstrate the extent to which the existing Wyoming supply chain can be used as part of a broader fleet deployment model. The company plans to collaborate with Wyoming industrial partners during the project.
“BWXT is very excited to get started on this project and work with the WEA and other Wyoming organizations who share our belief in the benefits of nuclear power,” said Joe Miller, BWXT Advanced Technologies president. “At the end of this project, the potential job-creation, manufacturing and industrial opportunities for nuclear power in Wyoming will be clearer, and we will have a roadmap for deploying microreactors in Wyoming. When state and federal agencies work together with the private sector, we can unlock the economic and environmental benefits of nuclear innovations.”
“Wyoming is all about offering pragmatic energy solutions for the 21st century,” said WEA Executive Director Rob Creager. “The Energy Matching Funds are a prime example of how State, Federal and private sectors can work together to achieve success and move the needle forward. Projects like the Sweetwater Carbon Storage Hub and the BWXT microreactor project hold potential for our energy security and Wyoming’s economic advancement. These are true collaborations between our partners like the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources, Frontier Carbon Solutions, Idaho National Laboratory, BWXT, and local industry.”
A ten-day public comment period will close Friday, August 18. Project summaries can be viewed on the WEA website: www.wyoenergy.org. Comments can be submitted to email@example.com. The Wyoming Energy Authority will open additional rounds of funding opportunities for the Energy Matching Funds in the near future.