Collaboration Resources

UW School of Energy Resources, Williams Cos. Join Forces on Hydrogen Project | News

September 9, 2021

Representatives of UW’s School of Energy Resources and The Williams Cos. Inc. recently met on campus to discuss development opportunities, as well as the Tulsa, Okla., company’s clean energy strategy in Wyoming. (UW Photo)

Representatives of the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources (SER) and The Williams Cos. Inc. recently met on campus to discuss the UW school’s initiatives and development opportunities, as well as the energy infrastructure company’s clean energy strategy in Wyoming.

A partnership between the two entities has been forged based on a mutual desire to invest in and explore new energy ventures for Wyoming — especially in hydrogen and carbon capture.

“We are excited to see our goals align,” says SER Executive Director Holly Krutka. “The collaborative relationship that has emerged between SER and Williams will lead to novel applied research tied to a commercial partner that can translate research results into commercial investment. This type of collaboration has the potential to transform and revolutionize the energy sector so it can continue to serve as the foundation of the Wyoming economy.”

Recently, Williams, based in Tulsa, Okla., was awarded a grant by the Wyoming Energy Authority to support efforts to develop a hydrogen production and transportation hub in the southwest part of the state. The Wyoming Hydrogen Pilot Project will research hydrogen production from renewable energy sources. Williams will evaluate the impact of hydrogen on its local assets to include its pipelines in southwest Wyoming.

The feasibility study is in partnership with SER, as a subawardee, to evaluate water access and compatibility needed for hydrogen production.

“We are proud to collaborate with the impressive team at the School of Energy Resources on this shared vision as we look at opportunities to leverage our existing pipeline network to bring clean hydrogen to market as well as implement carbon capture solutions,” says Brian Hlavinka, Williams’ new energy ventures director. “The ability to produce clean hydrogen and blend into our large existing system in southwest Wyoming is a significant advantage and has the potential to accelerate the use of hydrogen in reducing carbon emissions.”

Williams is a midstream energy company that handles 30 percent of the natural gas in the United States that is used every day to heat homes, cook food and generate electricity. With a portfolio predominantly centered on natural gas transportation, Williams is dedicated to helping its customers meet sustainability goals. The company is meeting the demand for clean energy and reduced emissions by investing in and exploring new ways to fuel the clean energy economy.

In addition to meeting with SER and Wyoming leadership representatives about the larger scope and vision of the project, the Williams team delved into greater details related to the grant with personnel from multiple centers within SER who will play a critical role in executing the grant project.

“The combined UW-Williams project team met to compare our visions for the project and see which areas we should expand,” says Charles Nye, an associate research scientist from SER’s Center for Economic Geology Research. “We will now have an increased role for legal analysis of surface water resources. I am excited we’ve begun this 18-month project.”

Nye will lead the UW team, which includes members from the Center of Excellence for Produced Water Management and the Center for Energy Regulation and Policy Analysis to study southwest Wyoming water sources and treatments suitable for electrolysis and hydrogen production.

“We had a very productive two days with Williams,” Nye says. “It was a delight to familiarize the key contributors on the joint venture and work out a strategy for moving forward. We are excited to see this project getting off the ground.”

For more information about Williams harnessing the power of hydrogen, click here.