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Electric Co-ops Help Offer a Place and a Prize


for Research on Greenhouse Gases By Paul Wesslund


hat if carbon dioxide from burning coal at power plants FRXOG EH FRQWDLQHG DQG WXUQHG LQWR VRPHWKLQJ XVHIXO" A group of electric co-ops and other partners who want to


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investigate that issue recently broke ground on a research facility at the Dry Fork Station, a power plant in northeast Wyoming owned by Basin Electric Power Cooperative.


More than a dozen sites around the globe now study “carbon


capture” as one possible solution to climate change, but they generally don’t offer the real-world conditions the Integrated Test &HQWHU SDUWQHUV VD\ WKHLU VLWH ZLOO RIIHU ZKHQ LW·V ÀQLVKHG QH[W summer.


The facility will allow researchers to place equipment that can test ways to grab carbon dioxide from a working power plant and XVH LW LQ ZD\V WKH ZRUOG PLJKW ÀQG YDOXDEOH ,Q DGGLWLRQ WR %DVLQ (OHFWULF·V LQYROYHPHQW ÀQDQFLDO VXSSRUW comes from Denver-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and the National Rural Electric


Cooperative


Association. The state of Wyoming has been the main funder and organizer of the test center, and another key partner is the XPRIZE Foundation.


XPRIZE Foundation is an organization that seeks “radical EUHDNWKURXJKV IRU WKH EHQHÀW RI KXPDQLW\ µ In the past, it has offered cash prizes for space travel and health innovations. More recently it announced two $10 million prizes IRU ´WUDQVIRUPDWLRQDO DSSURDFKHV WR FRQYHUWLQJ FDUERQ GLR[LGH emissions into valuable products.” The carbon XPRIZE will be awarded in 2020, but this past


spring’s preliminary deadline has already produced several applicants, says Dr. Paul Bunje, principal scientist and senior director of energy and environment at XPRIZE. He says those entries have come from “big corporations, garage tinkerers, universities and small and medium-sized businesses.” The variety of planned research includes using carbon dioxide


to make fuels, ingredients in chemical processes, or thin, extremely strong “supermaterials” of the future. XPRIZE contestants will begin moving equipment to the test


center in the summer of 2018, says Dr. Marcius Extavour, XPRIZE GLUHFWRU RI WHFKQLFDO RSHUDWLRQV $QG ZKDW ZLOO WKDW ORRN OLNH" “Some of the equipment will be tall and skinny, some of it low and wide,” says Extavour. “Some of it might be in a smooth steel case, others will be exposed pipes, others will be, who knows ZKDW"µ To read more about the carbon XPRIZE, visit www.carbon.


xprize.org.


Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900- SOXV FRQVXPHU RZQHG QRW IRU SURÀW HOHFWULF FRRSHUDWLYHV


Paul Wesslund writes on cooperative issues for the National Rural Electric


Electric co-ops will help lead research into removing greenhouse gas from coal plant emissions, with a research station


now


being built next to this Basin Electric Power Cooperative plant in Wyoming. The International Test Center is also being supported by the state of Wyoming, and the Denver-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission


Association


cooperative. The Test Center is scheduled to be completed next summer, and will study ways to capture and develop uses for the carbon dioxide emitted as part of the coal-burning process.


10 small changes you can make at home and in your yard to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases you create


&KDQJH OLJKW EXOEV WR HQHUJ\ HI¿FLHQW PRGHOV like CFLs or LEDs. %X\ DSSOLDQFHV OLJKWLQJ RI¿FH HTXLSPHQW DQG electronics that have earned the Energy Star label. That means they operate on less energy than other products.


3. Maintain your heating and air conditioning systems. Have a tech inspect them every year. &KDQJH ¿OWHUV UHJXODUO\ 5HSODFH WKHP LI WKH\ DUH more than 10 years old. 4. Caulk and weather-strip windows, doors and holes near electrical outlets and cable cords on the indoor side of exterior walls. Add insulation to your attic.


5HF\FOH DQG UHXVH DQ\WKLQJ \RX FDQ 7KLV conserves energy and reduces emissions down the line because less stuff needs to be manufactured. 6. Use less water. Three percent of the energy used in the U.S. goes to pump and treat water. 7. Compost food and yard waste. The less trash \RX VHQG WR ODQG¿OOV WKH PRUH \RX KHOS UHGXFH greenhouse gas emissions. 8. Consider renewable energy sources, like a solar water heater. 9. Keep track of how much energy your family uses. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has an online Household Carbon Footprint Calculator to help you estimate. 10. Tell your friends how you’re saving energy - and how that’s saving you some money. Maybe they’ll make some changes at their homes, too.


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