BOZEMAN -- The U.S. Department of Energy on Monday awarded $66.9 million to the Big Sky Carbon Sequestration Partnership at Montana State University to fund a project that will inject a million tons of carbon dioxide into the sandstone rock layer beneath southwestern Wyoming.
The award marks the third and final phase of federal funding for the Big Sky partnership, which is based at MSU. Approximately $14 million of the federal money will stay on the MSU campus to pay for the university's contribution to the project.
"This grant speaks to the strong science program, both research and instruction, at MSU," said MSU President Geoff Gamble, noting that the award is in line with MSU's Carnegie Foundation ranking as one of the top 96 research universities in the country.
MSU is fortunate to have the strong support of Gov. Brian Schweitzer for energy development, Gamble said during a press conference Tuesday. "He has supported our Energy Research Institute and the development of technologies related to a wide spectrum of alternative energies," Gamble said.
"This project is one of the most important things to the governor," said Eric Stern, senior counselor to Gov. Schweitzer. "We believe that this is the first step toward making Montana a major energy center," Stern said.
The award will allow the partnership to begin its Phase III project, a commercial-scale, eight-year carbon sequestration study that could begin as early as next year. That project will spend two years building infrastructure and drilling an 11,000-foot well into the sandstone rock layer west of Big Piney, Wyo. Then, during year's three through five of the project, the partnership will inject more than a million metric tons of CO2 into the underground formation.
Carbon dioxide is one of several greenhouse gases that scientists have linked to global climate change. Rather than let CO2 escape into the air, geologic sequestration
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Montana State University