CHEYENNE - Representatives of the University of Wyoming, the state and General Electric Co. say their goal is to build a coal research plant by 2012.
The research plant will study ways of turning Wyoming coal into a synthetic natural gas as well as develop "clean coal" technologies.
Wyoming is the nation's leading coal producer, but most current coal gasification uses drier eastern coal.
The project's purpose is to try to make sure Wyoming coal remains a viable energy source as conventional coal burning loses favor because of global warming concerns.
Wyoming is expected to commit $50 million for the project, which officials have said could ultimately cost $100 million.
The plant's developers said Thursday that the process of establishing criteria for a plant site will begin next week.