SHERIDAN — Western Research Institute CEO Donald Collins backed statements made by Ramaco Carbon LLC representatives regarding a Department of Energy grant after the matter was publicly questioned by Powder River Basin Resource Council chairman Bob LeResche.
In a press release, Collins said PRBRC mischaracterized and misconstrued the press release issued by Ramaco on July 20.
“Ramaco was clear that they along with research and strategic partners were selected by DOE, and that WRI is leading the consortium,” Collins said in a statement released Saturday.
LeResche questioned the estimated $7 million grant initially announced by Ramaco, saying the only DOE grant awarded for carbon fiber research is a $3.7 million grant to WRI.
Collins said the total grant consists of the cash amount from the DOE as well as cost share in research, which each party to the grant contributes.
He said the DOE’s cash portion is about $3.8 million and the eight participating groups, which includes Ramaco, “will cumulatively contribute an equal or greater amount along with the DOE, such that the figure of the $7 million used in the release is appropriate.”
Ramaco, Collins said, will benefit not only from the grant but also by the ability to collaborate with the other members.
When it comes to the not-yet built integrated industry park, or iPark, and research and technological center, or iCAM, Collins said it’s been a joint strategy by Ramaco and WRI to develop these elements as soon as possible and to start to build research now with technology teams.
He said it’s been envisioned that research and development work would start at the research partners’ existing facilities until the iPark and iCAM are built.
“The libelous comment made by PRBRC that suggest that Ramaco, and by association WRI, intends to fraudulently pocket DOE grant funds on a project, which WRI will oversee and administrate, are inaccurate, unfair and do not merit dignifying with a response,” Collins said in the statement.