University of Wyoming’s Multimillion-Dollar Carbon Capture Project Outlined

Sweetwater Carbon Storage hub described as a ‘groundbreaking’ effort to remove CO2 from the air

Holly Krutka is executive director of the University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources, which will be spearheading the development of a carbon dioxide storage facility in the Greater Green River Basin. (Courtesy photo from the University of Wyoming)

By K.L. McQuaid

Special to the Wyoming Truth

One day after receiving the single largest competitive award in its history, details regarding the University of Wyoming’s planned carbon dioxide capture project in the Greater Green River Basin are coming into focus.

Armed with $40.5 million in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding, UW’s School of Energy Resources and a Dallas-based company intend to build the Sweetwater Carbon Storage Hub, the university announced Thursday.

The project, a joint venture with Frontier Carbon Solutions LLC, intends to trap carbon dioxide (CO2) from trona mining and from the air and permanently store it underground at the Sweetwater hub.

“We look forward to the growth of the partnership as we move forward on this groundbreaking project,” said Holly Krutka, executive director of UW’s School of Energy Resources, in a statement. “Wyoming aims to implement CO2 capture, use and storage and this project will be part of the foundation for deployment in the state and beyond.”

Krutka did not return a telephone call for additional comment.

Energy Resources’ Center for Economic Geology Research also will be heavily involved in the development.

The DOE funding, one of nine grants awarded Wednesday in six states and totaling $242 million for carbon capture transportation and storage projects, will be paid out over the next three years, the university stated. UW’s award was the largest of the nine grants.

Additionally, another $10.1 million in cost sharing will be contributed to the project by UW and Frontier, the school stated.

Federal officials hope to capture and store CO2 emissions that contribute to global warming and climate change, which results in longer and more severe droughts, wildfires, storms and flooding.

By 2050, officials hope to make the U.S. economy a “net-zero” emitter of carbon into the atmosphere.

UW’s Energy Resources is currently overseeing a similar carbon capture project in the Powder River Basin, adjacent to Basin Electric Power Co-operative’s Dry Fork Station. 

Since its founding in 2021, Frontier has completed significant planning for its Sweetwater project and has submitted three applications for underground injection wells with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. Those applications are currently under review.

“Our goal at Frontier is to develop safe, permanent carbon storage solutions for Wyoming’s key industries,” said Robby Rockey, Frontier’s president and co-Chief Executive Officer, in a statement. “We are proud to highlight Wyoming’s leadership in carbon management.”

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