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Carbon Valley

Author: Wyoming Public Media

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Following the race to develop an unlikely climate solution. Leaders in Wyoming have a plan to revive coal: jumpstart a young, controversial technology called carbon capture. To plant the seed, the state is hosting an international competition pitting five start-ups against each other for a grand prize. Can they figure out how to future-proof coal—or is this just false hope for the town that powered America?

New episodes every other Tuesday.
8 Episodes
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Carbon Valley Trailer

Carbon Valley Trailer

2021-03-0904:15

Leaders in Wyoming have a plan to revive coal: jumpstart a young, controversial technology called carbon capture. To plant the seed, the state is hosting an international competition pitting five start-ups against each other for a grand prize. Can they figure out how to future-proof coal—or is this just false hope for the town that powered America?
Coal is on its last legs. In the coal capital of the country, in the least-populated state in the union, leaders had to make a move. So, they turned to a silver bullet and brought in a $20 million competition to jumpstart a new era for coal country. Along the way, an unlikely ally emerges: a skateboarding environmentalist.
Part 2: The Finalists

Part 2: The Finalists

2021-03-3049:03

We take a drive north across the Wyoming prairie to visit the research center that's been dubbed a "glimmer of hope" for coal country. There, we meet the XPRIZE competitors for the first time and learn what's at stake for them. And we start to wonder--could the confidence behind carbon capture be premature?
Part 3: Money And Time

Part 3: Money And Time

2021-04-1345:54

The finalists' confidence begins to crack as they're faced with the reality of setting up demonstrations in just a few months. How do their challenges stack up to those industry-wide? Also, we learn Jason and Dimensional Energy may be at more of a disadvantage than we even realized.
Part 4: On Grief

Part 4: On Grief

2021-04-2747:24

Cooper must abruptly leave Wyoming for an unexpected trip home. But there's no break in reporting on coal country: another coal-fired power plant has been scheduled for closure, spelling doom for Kemmerer, Wyoming. Loss tangles with hope--but is it false hope? Dedicated to Larry McKim.
It's the summer of 2019. Two more coal companies have filed for bankruptcy, and hundreds of workers are left in the lurch. Meanwhile, Jason Salfi is relieved to find out the Carbon XPRIZE has been delayed. But, how does Jason's drive for this technology square with Wyoming's own? Has he faced any struggles that would help him empathize with coal country's sense of loss?
As we work on Part 6 of Carbon Valley, we're excited to present an episode of Worldview Stanford's Generation Anthropocene. Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton tells us the story of how he became "The Soundtracker," an unorthodox career choice that has led him around the planet three times in pursuit of the last pristine soundscapes. Journey along with Hempton from tropical jungles to the frozen North as he records the music from the solar-powered jukebox that is Earth.
Cooper can't wait any longer to see carbon capture utilization technology, so he makes a slightly abnormal reporting trip... across the country. He wants to see how Jason's team is faring. Are they actually ready to set up a large-scale demonstration soon? What challenges do an early-stage startup truly face? And most importantly, will Cooper survive an encounter with a very large rabbit?
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