Carbon-Based Research Helps Diversify Gillette Economy
Carbon research aims to increase coal industry’s viability
If the proposal for an Advanced Carbon Products Innovation Center is approved, researchers will have yet another ally in the quest to bring new carbon technologies and products to market. Energy Capital Economic Development applied for a grant from the Wyoming Business Council to build a pilot plant for companies looking to commercialize its research.
“What we found is that the University of Wyoming, in partnering with other organizations, has conducted a lot of research around advanced carbon products. That research has been very successful in the lab, but none of it has been commercialized,” says Phil Christopherson, CEO of Energy Capital Economic Development. “What [researchers] need is a pilot plant to take research from the lab to plant production, and that’s what the innovation center will do.”
Christopherson says Campbell County is ripe for such endeavors because of another important resource: its workforce.
“Gillette has such a skilled workforce. We have a lot of engineering and design and manufacturing capabilities that exist already,” he says. “We’re also talking with Gillette College and the University of Wyoming about how we can prepare students for future jobs these technologies will bring.”