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DOE Invests $6 Million to Develop Useful Products from Coal and Coal Wastes in Support of a Clean Energy Economy
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) announced $6 million in funding for six university-led research and development projects that will repurpose domestic coal resources for high-value graphitic products and carbon-metal composites that can be employed in clean energy technologies. Expanding innovative uses for coal and coal wastes has the potential to create local jobs and value-added economic opportunities for mining and power plant communities in support of the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of a net-zero greenhouse gas economy by 2050.

Selected projects will support FECM’s Carbon Ore Processing Program, which focuses on converting coal and coal wastes into valuable products for applications beyond traditional thermal and metallurgical uses. Coal’s unique structure and composition make it well-suited for use as a raw material for producing various high-value carbon products like carbon nano-materials, activated carbons, and graphite, which may be used for computer memory devices, LED lighting, solar photovoltaic cells, batteries, capacitors, sorbents, catalysts, membranes, and medical imaging. Carbon ore-derived graphitic products are well-suited to electrochemical, electromechanical, sorbent, catalyst, separation, and mechanical applications.

NETL will manage the selected projects:

  • Development Of Coal-Based Supercapacitor Materials for Energy Storage – Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (Champaign, Illinois)
  • Electrochemical Coal to Two-Dimensional Materials Process to Enable Renewable Energy Storage – Ohio University (Athens, Ohio)
  • Ultra-Conductive Carbon Metal Composite Wire for Electric Motors – Ohio University (Athens, Ohio)
  • Spray Deposition of Coal-Derived Graphene-Copper Nanocomposites for Advanced Conductors – Tennessee Technological University (Cookeville, Tennessee)
  • Lab-scale Additive Manufacturing of Coal-derived Carbon-Metal Composites for High-Performance Heat Sink – University of Delaware (Newark, Delaware)
  • Coal-Derived Graphene Materials for Industrial Applications – University of Wyoming (Laramie, Wyoming)

A detailed list of the selected projects can be found here.

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.