Jeremy Pearson of the San Rafael Energy Research Center was a keynote speaker during the Carbon and Emery Minerals & Energy Collaborative Meeting last week.
He began by expressing his delight to be at the meeting, saying he was thankful for everyone that joined in person or remotely. Pearson then said that the center was made possible by the vision of the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition and the Emery County Commissioners, who saw the transitions coming through.
This brought an opportunity for the local community and the state of Utah to take a leadership role in global transitions. Pearson stated that it has been a tremendous privilege for him to be able to put his energy into the efforts at the center.
The San Rafael Energy Research Center is a miniature national lab as well as an R&D site for large-scale energy research. Furthermore, the center is a nuclear energy materials laboratory, an accessible facility for researchers everywhere and a heroic effort to revitalize a coal community.
Pearson said that the center is at a strategic location to conduct support research, training and workforce development for possible future plants. The center is working on advanced nuclear power and coal power generation, hydrogen power, water desalination, and critical minerals production. Other avenues explored include solar thermal energy, integrated energy systems and more.
Pearson highlighted some of the projects that are in the works or are hopefully going to be supported, such as support research of molten salt nuclear reactor. The ARC Generator offers significant benefits and does not require high pressure to prevent coolant from boiling. Another is the San Rafael Manufacturing and Industrial Park, which is 130 acres in Orangeville that is owned, zoned and planned by Emery County.
Already, $1.8 million has been invested to run utilities to the site, such as power, water, gas and sewer, with more infrastructure plans underway. Pearson shared that local leadership is working hard to make these projects happen.
He also spoke on equipment that has been acquired for research with help from Utah state, saying that the center will be receiving a microscope very soon. In looking at hydrogen, Pearson credited the state of Utah as the hydrogen hub of the west, stating that the state could hold that mantle indefinitely.
He acknowledged that Utah is one of the driest states in the nation and the immediate short-term focus has to be on conservation, but in the long-term, Utah has the opportunity to augment water supply.