Barrasso: Wyoming is on the Cutting Edge of Carbon Capture Research and Innovation

April 22, 2021

Click here to watch Ranking Member Barrasso’s remarks.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), delivered the following remarks at a full committee hearing to examine the opportunities and challenges that exist for advancing and deploying carbon and carbon-dioxide (CO2) utilization technologies in the United States.  

The hearing featured testimony from Dr. Brian Anderson, director of the National Energy Technology Laboratory at the U.S. Department of Energy; Mr. Jason Begger, managing director of the Wyoming Integrated Test Center; Mr. Randall Atkins, chief executive officer of Ramaco Coal; and Dr. Gaurav Sant, professor at UCLA Samueli School of Engineering and founder and chief technology officer at CarbonBuilt, Inc. 

For more information on witness testimony click here.

Senator Barrasso’s remarks: 

“The International Energy Agency has repeatedly stated that if the world is going to meet its goal in addressing climate change, we will need carbon capture, utilization, and storage. 

“Earlier this year, the executive director of the International Energy Agency testified before this committee that carbon capture is an ‘extremely important’ technology for reducing carbon emissions. 

“That’s why I have long been a champion of carbon capture technologies.

“In 2008, I introduced a bill called the ‘Greenhouse Gas Emission Atmospheric Removal Act.’ 

“I did this along with the former chairman of this committee, Senator Jeff Bingaman, a Democrat from New Mexico who was Senator Heinrich’s predecessor on this committee. 

“More recently, I have worked successfully with a bipartisan group of senators, including Senator Manchin, our chairman, to expand the 45Q tax credit for carbon capture utilization and sequestration. 

“Last year, I – along with a bipartisan group of senators – successfully worked to enact the USE IT Act. 

“The USE IT Act supports carbon capture utilization and sequestration technology. 

“It expedites the permitting of important infrastructure like carbon dioxide pipelines, it helps researchers find commercial uses for captured carbon dioxide emissions. 

“Carbon dioxide emissions can be transformed to create numerous products including – clothing from carbon foams, carbon fiber, building materials like cement and concrete, and even hand sanitizer. 

“Wyoming is on the cutting edge of carbon capture research and innovation. 

“In 2018, the state of Wyoming joined with several rural electric cooperatives to open the Integrated Test Center in Gillette, Wyoming. 

“The Integrated Test Center provides space for research teams to test carbon capture utilization and sequestration technologies. 

“The Center gives these teams the opportunity to use carbon dioxide emissions directly from Basin Electric’s coal-fired power plant in Gillette. 

“I have toured the Center several times and I’m always impressed by the projects underway at the facility. 

“Last summer, we had a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee field hearing at the Center. 

“After the hearing, research teams provided hands on demonstrations of their groundbreaking work. 

“One of those teams was CarbonBuilt, who is being represented today and recently won the XPRIZE. 

“CarbonBuilt used captured emissions in its concrete manufacturing technology.

“It was a finalist for the Carbon XPRIZE, a research competition to drive innovation in carbon capture utilization and sequestration technologies. 

“On Monday, the Carbon XPRIZE announced its winners and CarbonBuilt was among them. 

“We are delighted to have the founder of CarbonBuilt, Dr. Gaurav Sant, who has joined us here today. 

“Congratulations again to you and your team. 

“Earlier this month, the Gillette News Record did a story called ‘Case Study: ITC has potential to be prominent in CO2 research, breakthroughs.’ 

“The end of the article reports: ‘the world needs an important and often overlooked Wyoming natural resource — innovation.’ 

“That’s what you and I have talked about, Mr. Chairman – the need for innovation in the work as opposed to regulation and taxation. 

“These are great opportunities for coal-to-products technologies, as well.

“Raw coal can be mined, treated, and refined to separate the carbon content, and then used in high tech, high value products.

“These products include carbon fiber, activated carbon, and graphene. 

“Last year, Mr. Chairman, you and I, and Senator Capito introduced the ‘COAL TeCC’ Act. 

“That stands for the Creating Opportunities and Leveraging Technologies for Coal Carbon. 

“Our legislation directs the Department of Energy to initiate pilot programs to help bring coal-to-products technologies to market.

“I’m pleased to say that key sections of our bill were enacted as part of the 2020 Energy Act. 

“Today, we will discuss the opportunities and challenges facing both carbon capture and coal-to-products technologies.”