Contact
(307) 721-2011
(888) 463-6974 or (888) Info-WRI
Doing Business with WRI
Western Research Institute is a technology development center serving private clients, industry, and government with expertise in energy, environment, and highway materials.
WRI serves the oil industry with research, innovation, and problem-solving.
Refinery efficiency
WRI gives refiners new tools and insights for greater control over distillation processes and output. Our research capabilities, new technologies and troubleshooting support increased efficiency and productivity.  Work may be maintained as proprietary.

Predictability
We’re introducing new levels of predictability to refinery operations by establishing methods to measure the tendencies of residua toward non-pyrolytic heat-induced fouling and pyrolytic coke formation.  WRI’s patented Coking Indexes allow refiners to gauge how close a residuum is to producing coke during distillation and visbreaking processes.  This can help maximize distillation yield and profitability while minimizing the risk of undesired coke formation.  What’s more, we’ve made it easy to measure the compatibility and stability of asphalts and residua (and blends of these materials) with the WRI Automated Flocculation Titrimeter (patent pending).

Residua Evaluation and Characterization  
WRI has extensive capabilities in the separation and characterization of petroleum residua and their fractions.  We conduct custom separations using techniques such as ion exchange, adsorption, size exclusion chromatography, and the WRI-developed on-column precipitation and re-dissolution technique.  WRI provides non-routine analytical services, including investigative analyses, troubleshooting, and project support to address production needs.

Conferences and Symposia
WRI annually hosts the Petersen Asphalt Research Conference.  With the FHWA, we organize the Pavement Performance Prediction Symposium.  With the Canadian National Centre for Upgrading Technology, WRI is a sponsor and organizer of the Conference on the Upgrading and Refining of Heavy Oil, Bitumen and Synthetic Crude Oil.  WRI routinely organizes heavy oil symposia at American Chemical Society national meetings.
Contact
Frank Guffey
Program Director
Heavy Oil Technology Center (HOTC)
307/721-2416
fguffey@uwyo.edu
What makes WRI the first word in transportation materials?
Asphalt & Petroleum Technologies

Western Research Institute is proud to be a research partner of the Federal Highway Administration, working to discover how the physical properties of highway materials contribute to their performance in the nation’s roadways.

Knowing your materials helps you know how they will perform over time.  WRI works to identify significant variables that affect the life-cycle performance of asphalts and pavement systems.  From our research on the fundamental properties of asphalts, aggregates, additives and interactions, we develop practical instruments and predictive tests used by government and industry.

By providing the tools to distinguish long-term performance characteristics of highway materials, we help transportation officials get the best possible materials in the road. According to a National Research Council report, the SuperPave® specifications, based on research by WRI and others, have saved taxpayers up to $2.9 billion per year in reduced highway maintenance costs.

We also put our know-how to work for asphalt, additives and roofing suppliers, trade associations and transportation agencies—anyone with a need for greater insight into asphalts and other transportation materials. We perform non-routine chemical and physical analyses of asphalt materials and conduct forensic and customized research for private and public clients.

WRI hosts the Petersen Asphalt Research Conference and the Pavement Performance Prediction Symposium, annual forums that introduce the latest findings from researchers throughout the industry and attract international participation from top asphalt professionals.

Let us put our know-how to work for you.
Contact
Jean-Pascal Planche
Senior Vice President
Asphalt and Petroleum Technologies
307/721-2325
jplanche@uwyo.edu
The CTF simulates a range of boiler configurations for developing new emission control strategies.
Combustion test facility
One of WRI’s premier R&D resources is our Combustion Test Facility (CTF). The CTF is a pilot-scale coal combustion system that simulates a pulverized coal-fired utility boiler. It has a nominal coal firing capacity of 250,000 Btu/hour (about 30 lb/hour for a typical subbituminous coal).

The CTF is a balanced-draft system that can be set up to simulate a tangential-fired or wall-fired boiler or other power plant firing configurations. The unit is equipped with heat recovery surfaces to replicate the time/temperature profile of a utility boiler (water-cooled waterwall section, air-cooled superheater, reheater, and economizer simulators). The CTF also provides combustion air preheating to mimic a utility air preheater and over-fire air injection ports for combustion staging. The unit is equipped with a bag filter and solids and gas sampling trains. The gas analysis system includes on-line analyzers for monitoring O2, NOx, SO2, CO, CO2, as well as elemental and oxidized vapor-phase mercury.

A few applications for which the CTF can be used include:
Vijay K. Sethi
Senior Vice President
Energy Production and Generation
(307) 721-2376
vsethi@uwyo.edu
Contact
Multi-pollutant control
• NOx reduction processes such as SCR, SNCR, and reburning  
• SO2 abatement processes, including in-furnace sorbent injection and dry scrubbing
• Mercury reduction using various technologies, including sorbent injection (e.g.
Thief Carbon process)
• Biomass co-firing
• Combustion characteristics of alternate fuels
OxyCombustion (carbon dioxide reduction)
Western Research Institute
3474 N. 3rd Street
Laramie, WY  82072
(307) 721-2011
(888) 463-6974 or (888) Info-WRI

You can contact WRI directly by phone (8 a.m. – 5 p.m. MST, Monday-Friday) at the numbers above.  
Also, you are welcome to contact the appropriate WRI representative directly.
We Know Coal.
Coal
We are working to develop enabling technologies for zero-emissions coal-based power plants of the future.
• Our Combustion Test Facility, which mimics a coal-fired utility boiler, is now being used in technology development and verification projects for NOx reduction and mercury capture technologies, as well as strategies for multi-pollutant control and oxy-combustion.
• We’ve earned a name for reliable emissions testing and monitoring at power plants.
• We’ve patented coal upgrading technologies that increase heating value and reduce regulated emissions.  We’re also working with private clients to develop and demonstrate proprietary coal upgrading technologies.
• We’re developing new catalysts and related synthesis technologies to co-produce chemicals, transportation fuels and electricity.
• WRI synthesis technology, used in conjunction with coal gasification, can also serve as a coal-to-liquids technology.
• IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle), pre-gasification upgrading, and improved hydrogen are other areas in which we can provide support.

At WRI, we’ve made the knowledge of virtually every aspect of coal technology and use our domain.  WRI is the leading energy research entity located in the number-one coal-producing state in the nation.  For more than 25 years, WRI’s proximity to the energy resources in the western United States, especially the Powder River Basin, has given us a heightened sense of purpose in how we conduct our business and set our direction.

We have a long history of assisting coal producers and power generators and have established a significant network of resources throughout the industry.  In Laramie, we have established the physical infrastructure necessary for effective coal research, testing and technology development at our Advanced Technology Center.

For producers, WRI experts and technologies are available to support coalbed methane recovery, produced water solutions, and mine reclamation. WRI supports current coal-fired power generation in the realms of emissions, water, ash and carbon capture and storage.
Vijay K. Sethi
Senior Vice President
Energy Production and Generation
(307) 721-2376
vsethi@uwyo.edu
Contact
WRI is developing novel catalytic processes that convert carbonaceous materials into alcohols.
Catalysis & Synthesis
Catalysts play an integral role in an array of energy production methods, environmental remediation processes and other technologies. WRI’s pioneering catalysis and synthesis research is distinguished by the advanced catalysts and processes it has developed to convert carbonaceous source materials into alcohol mixtures that can be used as transportation fuel, gasoline additives or chemical feedstocks.

Catalysts are tested in our expansive bench-scale catalytic synthesis facility, which includes fixed-bed, fluidized-bed and slurry reactors. Our rotary kiln can manufacture catalysts in 100-gram batches. For large-scale testing in our synthesis pilot plant facilities, a rotary kiln capable of producing up to 4-kilogram batches of catalyst is being designed.

WRI’s catalysis research has been the cornerstone of many innovative technologies, including a patent-pending mixed alcohol catalyst.  Current catalysis projects include those for thermochemical fuel production, hydrogen production, and autothermal reforming.  Licensing opportunities are available.  Our testing facilities and capabilities continue to grow and are available for collaborative research projects.  We offer independent testing services for Fischer-Tropsch catalysts developed by others as well.
Vijay K. Sethi
Senior Vice President
Energy Production and Generation
(307) 721-2376
vsethi@uwyo.edu
Contact
WRI is developing clean combustion-based technologies for real-world applications.
Combustion

Combustion is elemental to a myriad of processes and technologies. WRI is developing new methods for applying combustion to energy production, environmental remediation and waste management. One area of research is oxycombustion, an advanced air separation technology for the low-cost production of pure oxygen for use by coal power plants to reduce hazardous emissions. WRI’s extensive combustion capabilities and research are also being applied to various technologies for mercury mitigation, carbon capture and multi-pollutant control. Additional combustion applications address the destruction of volatile organic compounds.

At the center of WRI’s research is our Combustion Test Facility (CTF). The CTF is available for simulating coal-fired power plant configurations, analyzing emissions, optimizing emission control strategies and other uses. The facility is a pilot-scale coal furnace that simulates a pulverized coal-fired utility boiler. It is ideal for testing power plant technologies and affords great flexibility.
Vijay K. Sethi
Senior Vice President
Energy Production and Generation
(307) 721-2376
vsethi@uwyo.edu
Contact
Our gasifiers offer opportunities to develop technologies in slip-streams of coal-derived synthesis gas.
Coal Gasification
WRI is pioneering coal combustion and gasification technologies for integrated, ultra-clean power plants. The technologies will provide the flexibility to produce "opportunity" products, including clean transportation fuels, high-value chemicals, synthesis gas, and hydrogen in concurrence with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vision 21 Program.

WRI has three coal gasifiers on site using three different technologies. Two gasifiers are designed around indirect heating processes that prevent dilution of the resulting synthesis gas with nitrogen. These air blown gasifiers have some of the benefits of oxygen blown gasification without the added cost of oxygen.

The third gasifier is a more conventional oxygen/steam blown 7-inch fluidized bed gasifier designed for western coals. Operating at 1600 °F, the gasifier produces a near 50:50 mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide with a dry ash bottom. In 2006, WRI added many enhancements to the gasifier’s capabilities including upgrading the oxygen blown fluidized bed gasifier for sulfur and particulate control. The computer-controlled gasifier uses 35 pounds of coal per hour and has a slip stream product stream used for testing technologies such as multi-pollutant control, hydrogen separation using membranes, and water gas shift catalysts.

WRI scientists and engineers are working at the forefront of coal gasification technology. And, our gasifier facilities are designed to fully support the clean fuel research and development needs of industry and government.
Vijay K. Sethi
Senior Vice President
Energy Production and Generation
(307) 721-2376
vsethi@uwyo.edu
Contact