(Wyoming Business Report, July 27) – Gov. Matt Mead has signed a cooperation agreement between Wyoming and a consortium of Japanese companies to research clean-coal technology, it was announced Tuesday.
Mead and Osamu Tsukamoto, president of Japan Coal Energy Center (JCOAL), executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) yesterday committing to cooperation in coal research and development of technologies and coal trade. JCOAL operates under the supervision of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and is supported by more than 120 member coal-related businesses, including Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Nippon Steel and Toshiba.
“Japan is a leader in clean-coal power. Japan is looking to diversify its coal resources supply chain,” said Governor Mead. “I am excited to partner with JCOAL and their member businesses to developing carbon solutions for the benefit of the world and in exploring ways to ship Wyoming’s coal to Japan. This partnership has great promise for Wyoming.”
The MOU covers technical cooperation, research and development, communication and information exchange and facilitating coal exports and sales. The University of Wyoming, the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority and the Wyoming Business Council are the primary agencies that will be working with JCOAL. The agreement does not include any exchange of funds.
A copy of the MOU is available on Mead’s website.
Mead expects to host a conference in Wyoming within a year to facilitate work between Japanese researchers and researchers from the University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources.
Wyoming, the largest coal producing state, is looking for ways to keep the state’s coal industry working even as the country moves further toward a low carbon economy. In April, Gov. Mead broke ground on a $21 million carbon test center that is being built next to Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s Dry Fork Station south of Gillette.
One of the goals of the new research center would be to find ways to make coal a cleaner burning fuel, reducing its environmental damage, which would help drive demand for exports.
“As we find solutions for Wyoming, the country and the world for coal, which is what we’re to do here, it certainly makes the lift for getting ports open in places like the State of Washington easier when we can point to it and say, ‘we’re not just making this ask, we actually are doing the heavy lifting in terms of trying to find solutions for coal,’” Mead told the Associated Press.
Coal-fired plants in Japan now get the fuel from Australia and Indonesia but want to tap sources from other parts of the world, Osamu Tsukamoto, president of the Japan Coal Energy Center, told the AP.