The Wyoming Innovation Center will explore new energy options.

Officials gathered for the grand opening of the Wyoming Innovation Center (WyIC) in Campbell County. The 5,500-ft2 facility on 10 acres will be home to companies and researchers developing commodities using coal and coal byproducts. 

Tenants at WyIC will focus on evaluating the commercial viability of high-value nonfuel, low- or zero-emissions products made from coal and extracting pivotal rare earth elements found in the fly ash of coal burned at local power plants. (The U.S. currently depends on China for as much as 97% of its rare earth element sources.) WyIC’s first tenant, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), will focus on applied research for the production and use of clean energy resources. 

The new center is part of a broader effort to spur innovation in Carbon Valley, using its natural resources and mines to grow and sustain jobs and advance beneficial environmental studies. The Wyoming Innovation Center is among several projects that are exploring new options to address the entire life cycle of carbon — including the Wyoming Integrated Test Center (ITC) and the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources’ CarbonSAFE project.