GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) - Governor Matt Mead and others are hailing the possibilities of an industrial-scale laboratory where researchers will test new technologies to make profitable use of carbon dioxide emissions from a coal-fired power plant.

Construction of the Integrated Test Center already has begun at Basin Electric's Dry Fork Station power plant near Gillette.

The governor and others gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday.

Officials say the ultimate goal of the project is to prevent CO2 from entering the atmosphere and put the gas to profitable use, such as manufacturing exotic materials.

Eventually the lab will host teams from around the world that will compete for $20 million in prize money to develop carbon conversion technology.

The project coincides with bankruptcies and layoffs that have beset Wyoming's coal industry in recent months.

Seth Waggener, Office of Governor Matt Mead
Seth Waggener, Office of Governor Matt Mead

More From KGAB