NETL is exploring new avenues by which Appalachian energy communities can realize exciting new economic opportunities through the use of carbon-neutral modular gasification technologies to produce hydrogen and other valuable products.
The Lab recently released a report that details the availability of waste coal and biomass within Appalachia and explores various opportunities for using these resources to provide new economic activities for mining and power production communities throughout Appalachia. NETL collaborated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Small Business Innovation Research Office to conduct the study.
In releasing the report for public access, NETL aims to facilitate innovations in modular gasification technology as a key technology to achieving a net-zero carbon economy. Gasification technology is flexible in that it can convert carbon-based substances into useful fuels and chemicals, such as hydrogen. Gasification-based systems utilizing waste coal and biomass, in addition to carbon capture and storage, can produce hydrogen with net-zero carbon emissions and serve as a key player in the net-zero emissions economy of the future while creating jobs and supporting environmental justice in Appalachia. This approach is one example of how DOE technologies can spur economic opportunity for communities that have been historically marginalized and overburdened by pollution.
The DOE Gasification Systems Program is developing innovative modular designs for converting diverse types of carbonaceous feedstocks, such as biomass, municipal solid waste, and other waste materials into clean, carbon-neutral synthesis gas (syngas) to enable the low-cost production of hydrogen, electricity, transportation fuels, chemicals, hydrogen and other useful products to suit market needs. Advancements in this area will help enable advanced power generation and other syngas-based and hydrogen-based technologies to be competitive. These efforts will assist in building a modern and sustainable infrastructure for a clean energy future and will make progress in putting the United States on a path to achieve economy-wide net-zero carbon emissions.
“The hardworking communities of Appalachia produced the coal that powered American cities for decades and powered our nation’s industries. NETL and the Biden-Harris Administration share the goal of creating a sustainable energy future for the United States in which no one is left behind,” said David Lyons, technology manager of NETL’s Gasification Systems Program. “By combining the right technologies, we can apply some historical approaches originally developed for coal toward new and innovative applications that will sustainably create new job opportunities for decades to come.”
This report supports on-going opportunities to advance the Biden Administration’s stance on environmental justice, as described in Executive Order #13990: “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis” and Executive Order #14008: “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.
The full report, titled “Tailoring the Use of Coal Waste and Carbon-Neutral Biomass in Modular Gasification Technology in Distressed Communities in the Appalachian Region,” which was prepared by technology market research firm Dawnbreaker for DOE, can be accessed here.
The DOE Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) funds research and development projects to address our climate challenges through its mission to minimize the environmental impacts of fossil fuels while working towards net-zero emissions. To learn more about the programs within the FECM, visit the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management website or sign up for news announcements. More information about the NETL Gasification Program is available on the NETL website.
NETL is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory that drives innovation and delivers technological solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. By leveraging its world-class talent and research facilities, NETL is ensuring affordable, abundant and reliable energy that drives a robust economy and national security, while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.