Metal Tech News - The Elements of Innovation Discovered

By A.J. Roan
Metal Tech News 

DOE offers $6M for alt coal use research

Seeking innovative new ways to utilize old-world carbon fuel Metal Tech News – Aug. 3, 2022


Last updated 8/2/2022 at 2:57pm

A pile of bituminous coal, which powered the old world before oil.

Bituminous coal accounted for about 44% of the coal produced in the United States in 2020.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management announced $6 million in funding toward research and development projects that will repurpose domestic coal resources for products that can be employed in clean energy technologies such as batteries and advanced manufacturing.

Projects selected for this funding will support FECM's Carbon Ore Processing Program, which focuses on converting coal and coal wastes into products such as graphite, carbon metal composites, and alloys.

Coal has long been a domestic resource that has contributed to the economic growth of the United States for more than a century. However, under a shifting energy generation paradigm, innovation is needed to extract the full economic value from remaining coal stockpiles and to remediate legacy impacts associated with coal extraction and utilization.

The Carbon Ore Processing Program at the National Energy Technology Laboratory delivers solutions to this challenge with novel technologies for producing valuable products from coal and coal wastes.

Laboratory and pilot-scale research and development supported by the program aims to elevate the value of the United States' coal resources and transform them into useful products for the future.

Coal can still be used

Coal's unique structure and composition make it well suited as a feedstock for high-value carbon products such as carbon fibers, graphite for batteries, additive manufacturing filaments and resins, and carbon nanomaterials for advanced electronic and metal alloy applications.

Additionally, as a raw material, it can be used for producing other various products such as carbon nanomaterials used for computer memory devices, LED lighting, solar photovoltaic cells, capacitors, sorbents, catalysts, membranes, and medical imaging.

Coal is also abundant and low-cost, making it an attractive feedstock for high-volume applications such as building materials, concrete additives, and polymer composites.

These markets, which are outside of coal's traditional thermal and metallurgical roles, expand the U.S. coal value chain and sustain jobs within a critical sector of the U.S. economy that is being displaced by the transition to low-carbon energy sources.

An infographic detailing the transformation of the coal value chain.

Department of Energy

DOE is funding research into innovative uses of coal in the U.S.

Already, many companies and innovators are developing means to reutilize, repurpose, and reclaim coal and coal waste to provide new means for this old-world fuel into a new-world resource.

Eligible applicants for this research funding include companies, academic institutions, and research coalitions with expertise in the following areas of interest:

Research and development of high-value graphitic products such as graphene, quantum dots, graphitizable foams, and more.

Research and development of carbon metal composites that offer the potential for superior technical and economic performance, particularly in electrochemical applications.

Any interested applicants for this funding can apply on the federal government acquisition and grants portal, FedConnect, by Oct. 6.


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