CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A carbon capture project intended to permanently store millions of tons of carbon dioxide from coal-based electricity generation facilities in Wyoming underground has advanced into phase three last month, researchers said.

University of Wyoming scientists and industry professionals working on the Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise project, known in short as CarbonSAFE, launched in 2016 with an 18-month investigation into the geology around Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s Dry Fork Station near Gillette, the Casper Star-Tribune reported.

Researchers first looked into the feasibility of permanently storing carbon dioxide fluids in storage sites deep down in rock formations, officials said. The team then drilled a test well in the area.

The third phase of the project includes finalizing data analysis and applying for and obtaining the required permits and environmental clearances to construct.

“Phase 3 will be the phase that tees up commercial operation at the study site, but also for other areas in Wyoming,” said Scott Quillinan, director of the University of Wyoming Center for Economic Geology Research.

The goal is to build the storage complex to commercial scale, and capture 50 million metric tons (55 million tons) of carbon dioxide within 30 years, researchers said.

The project is being funded by a $15.4 million grant provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, a $1.5 million donation from Basin Electric Power Cooperative, and a $2.4 million contribution from the university.

The federal government has funded several carbon capture projects in recent years as part of a national find ways to trap, use or store carbon dioxide, a climate-warming greenhouse gas. Wyoming is one of four other federally funded carbon capture projects that has successfully entered a third phase of deployment.

The Energy Department had originally backed 13 projects, but many have not advanced into later phases of testing, the university said in a statement.