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Wyoming chosen for direct air capture plant

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Wyoming has already established itself as a national leader on power-sector carbon capture and geologic storage. It may soon add direct air capture to the list.

A pair of U.S. technology companies announced Thursday that they will build a first-of-its-kind facility — Project Bison — to remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it permanently underground, with operations beginning by the end of next year and scaling up to capture 5 million tons of CO2 annually by 2030.

That’s roughly equivalent to the emissions of 1.2 coal-fired power plants or 11.4 natural gas-fired power plants, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“As the Energy State, we are committed to advancing the carbon management industry in Wyoming,” Gov. Mark Gordon said in a written statement. “We are an early leader in developing carbon capture possibilities and policy. The interest in locating a project of this scale here demonstrates Wyoming’s commitment to CO2 capture, use and storage projects as this industry develops.”

Glen Murrell, executive director of the Wyoming Energy Authority, said in the same press release that “Project Bison — and others like it — have the potential to contribute to Wyoming’s net zero aspirations. Wyoming has been a leader in carbon management, and we welcome CarbonCapture Inc.’s commitment to the state.”

The California-based direct air capture developer partnered with Dallas-based, sequestration-focused Frontier Carbon Solutions to design a facility that can handle both capture and storage.

They believe it will be the first carbon removal plant in the country that will use class VI wells to inject carbon into deep geologic formations, and chose to build it in Wyoming due to the abundance of underground storage options and “the broad availability of renewable and zero carbon energy sources as well as the favorable regulatory and operating environment for carbon storage,” according to a press release.

Darwei Kung, Head of Commodities and Portfolio Manager at DWS Group, talks about the energy crisis in Europe and concerns about oil supply. He is on "Bloomberg Surveillance."

The companies did not specify where the facility will be constructed.

Sarah Fitz-Gerald, chief strategy officer at the Wyoming Business Council, praised the fact that direct air capture can harness the state’s affinity for energy and its skilled workforce. And Scott Quillinan, senior director of research at the University of Wyoming’s school of energy resources, believes the state’s early investments in carbon capture, utilization and storage are paying off.

The tax credits and other incentives for carbon capture and storage included in the Inflation Reduction Act that President Joe Biden signed into law last month — and which Wyoming’s Congressional delegation strongly opposed — removed the last barrier and enabled the companies to move forward with the project, CarbonCapture CEO and CTO Adrian Corless said in a written statement.

“We now have the ingredients needed to scale (direct air capture) to megaton levels by the end of this decade,” Corless said.

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