The Energy Innovation Center (EIC) at the University of Wyoming—designed for the UW School of Energy Resources (SER), the Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute (EORI), and the Institute’s nine centers of excellence—focuses on such critical issues as enhanced oil recovery, carbon management, and advanced coal technology.
The three-story, 56,941-sf, $25.4 million research and collaboration facility contains 12,000 sf of highly technical and reconfigurable research lab space and six specialty labs, including:
- A three-walled, 3-D visualization research lab linked to one of the largest supercomputing centers in the world—the Wyoming National Center for Atmospheric Research Supercomputing Center (NWSC) in Cheyenne.
- The world’s most advanced reservoir characterization lab dedicated to the study of fluid flow in unconventional reservoir rocks.
- A 1,296-sf drilling simulator for teaching students to explore, test, and interact with an extensive array of drilling rig components.
The 3-D visualization lab is notable in its ability to create a model of the subsurface of the earth that will help energy companies pinpoint where they can extract minerals most efficiently. Rather than viewing a 3-D screen, the center resembles a cavern with three vertical walls and a floor that makes researchers feel as if they are physically immersed in the image.
In addition to classrooms, common areas, and faculty and staff offices, the EIC also reserves eight offices and 20 workstations for long- and short-term use by visiting researchers from other universities or private industry. The design of the EIC seeks to stimulate collaboration among academic, public- and private-sector researchers.
The EIC is designed to blur the boundaries of traditional academia, to create opportunities for students, engineers, and scientists to interact and freely exchange ideas. The physical environment, similar to what’s found in energy companies or national laboratories, lends itself to knowledge and technology transfer.