The Elements of Innovation Discovered

X-MAT earns more funding for coal research

Company turns coal waste into homes and battery contender Metal Tech News – March 23, 2022

The Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management March 18 announced US$2.2 million in funding for research into new, clean uses for coal waste – primarily, to continue the efforts by X-MAT Carbon Core Composites LLC in completely building a home out of coal.

Over the past year, X-MAT has developed bricks, blocks, facades, panels, and roof tiles that comprise all the components needed to construct a building. As a result, X-MAT has been awarded a follow-on contract by the National Energy Technology Laboratory to continue research and development of its high-strength, lightweight building materials using domestic coal waste.

"This is coal reimagined," said Bill Easter, founder of X-MAT. "We're honored to receive this funding from the DOE to continue the revolutionary work of repurposing coal and coal waste to bring these innovative, green building products to the marketplace."

Besides reclaiming the vast storages of modern and antiquated coal waste, this innovative approach to recycling by X-MAT has produced coal-derived building materials that are fire-resistant, non-toxic, lightweight and durable, making them not only safer than their traditional counterparts but easier to use as well as friendly to the environment.

With this funding, X-MAT will continue to build a prototype structure to test out their coal-derived building materials, including roof tiles, siding panels, bricks, and blocks.

The company hopes to have a partial coal house constructed by 2023.

In total, NETL has awarded X-MAT and their subsidiary Semplastics over US$10 million in grants and contracts. In addition to the most recent contract, the team received a US$1.4 million contract to create new uses for coal waste, a US$1.5 million grant for X-TILES – X-MAT's coal core composite roof shingles – and nearly US$1 million to help fund the research for turning coal into battery materials.

Separate from its potential home, X-MAT has been conducting research to use coal waste to manufacture anode materials for batteries and has found incredible success in expired fuel.

By combining coal with a proprietary, low-cost, resin-based technology to create fuel-cell batteries, X-MAT has found a unique product that could easily become a contender in the ongoing energy race.

Early tests in full coin cells show that the batteries utilizing this coal composite anode material have reached over 400 cycles, comparable to the typical lithium-ion battery found in laptop computers.

X-MAT has also scaled up this technology, with the help of the Battery Innovation Center, into single-layer pouch cells that have surpassed 100 cycles and are continuing to perform well.

The benefits of this new material don't stop at its increased performance, as this technology could also lead to a domestic source for anode material, helping the United States reduce reliance on foreign countries for the critical materials necessary to support the increased demand for electrification.

Now, X-MAT is ready to begin sharing some of its discoveries with the world. From March 28 to 31, X-BATT will be presenting their battery results at the 39th annual International Battery Seminar & Exhibit at Loews Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando.

"Our early tests exceeded our expectations – the coal composite anode materials are outperforming graphite, the traditional anode material used in lithium-ion batteries," said Easter. The energy race is in full swing and we're proud to be running full speed toward an eco-friendly, long-term solution to power our world."


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