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Hydrogen Production Project Moves Forward at Wyoming Coal Plant



January 31, 2024 - Wyoming officials will help fund a hydrogen generation project that will have coal as its energy source, using carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) along with a chemical looping technology.

Babcock & Wilcox (B&W), an Ohio-headquartered group working on technologies to produce cleaner energy, and electric utility Black Hills Energy recently announced the companies have received a $16 million grant from the Wyoming Energy Authority. The money will support permitting, engineering, and development of what the groups call a clean hydrogen generation facility with CCS at the utility’s Neil Simpson Power Plant in Gillette, Wyoming.

The 90-MW coal-fired unit at Neil Simpson will use B&W’s BrightLoop technology to produce energy, and the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) will be sequestered. The companies said the plant will be capable of producing 15 tons of hydrogen daily using the BrightLoop process, a patented chemical looping technology. The BrightLoop process can utilize various feedstocks, including coal, biomass, and waste fuels, which is why companies are looking at it as a sustainable choice for energy production.

To learn more about the BrightLoop process, read this overview about the technology from Babcock & Wilcox.

South Dakota-based Black Hills Energy serves 1.3 million natural gas and electric utility customers in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

“We’re excited that this important project is advancing to the next phase of development, and we thank the State of Wyoming and the Wyoming Energy Authority for supporting our efforts,” said Brandy Johnson, chief technology officer for B&W. “We look forward to working closely with our partner, Black Hills Energy, as we complete engineering, begin construction, and move toward completion of this commercial-scale project. This project supports Wyoming’s efforts to utilize an abundant and affordable natural resource to produce clean energy, while showing the flexibility and versatility of B&W’s BrightLoop technology.”

The BrightLoop chemical looping technology is part of B&W’s ClimateBright suite of decarbonization and hydrogen technologies. The BrightLoop process uses a proprietary, regenerable particle and has been demonstrated to effectively separate CO2 while producing hydrogen, steam and/or syngas, according to B&W.

“We’ve successfully worked with Black Hills Energy on many projects over the years and appreciate the opportunity to work with them again on what will be one of the most impactful collaborations our companies have ever undertaken,” Johnson said. “Together we will be forging a new path for Wyoming’s and America’s clean energy future, helping combat climate change while supporting jobs in Wyoming’s energy industry.”

“Black Hills Energy is proud to partner with B&W and we’re excited about this project’s potential,” said Mark Lux, vice president of Power Delivery for Black Hills Energy. “We’re committed to supporting the advancement of emerging technologies that create solutions for a reliable, cost-effective, cleaner energy future.”