Back to Top
Skip to main content
FOA Logo
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and NETL have has announced up to $2 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002376, Enabling Gasification of Blended Coal, Biomass, and Plastic Wastes to Produce Hydrogen with Potential for Net-Negative Carbon Dioxide Emissions. This FOA seeks applications for the research and development of the co-gasification of coal with biomass and plastic wastes. The aim is to advance net-negative carbon technologies that can produce hydrogen or other high-value fuels, either as the sole product or as a co-product. Like coal, waste plastics are ideal feedstocks to blend with biomass due to their extremely high volatile matter and low moisture and ash content. As a result, the development of co-gasification technologies sought in this FOA will help alleviate concerns over potential feedstock availability and other operational issues.
ORNL’s funding supports the Advanced Coal Processing Program's goal to find uses for coal outside of traditional thermal and metallurgical markets.
Two U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), are working with the University of Kentucky and the Pennsylvania State University to further the research and development of coal-derived carbon fibers. This research, valued at $10 million, will investigate all aspects of coal-derived carbon fiber production—from computational chemistry and pitch processing to the final spinning and heat treatment process of the fibers. The aim is to produce fibers with superior properties at a lower cost than currently available. Through this effort, ORNL researchers will work to understand the chemistry and processing conditions required to produce different grades of coal-derived carbon fiber. NETL, ORNL, and the university teams will work closely to diversify U.S. coal use in domestic manufacturing, while making coal and coal-based products more attractive for export.
FOA Logo
Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and NETL have selected two projects to receive approximately $2 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development. The projects will improve coal combustion residuals management under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002190, Research for Innovative Emission Reduction Technologies Related to Coal Combustion Residuals. The selected projects represent the first round of selections for this FOA. Applications are still being accepted for the second round of the FOA, which closes on September 30, 2020. Coal combustion residuals (CCRs) consist primarily of fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, flue gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum, and other FGD-solid by-products, from coal-fired power plants. Research and development efforts under this FOA aim to economically increase the beneficial use and management of CCRs, reducing the volume needed to be disposed of in impoundments while protecting the environment and the health and safety of the public.
Microwave reactor at NETL in Pittsburgh
NETL researchers envision a day when carbon dioxide (CO2) may transition from a waste gas that contributes to climate change to a high-value feedstock used in the production of fuels, pharmaceuticals, plastics, fertilizers and a range of consumer goods. In a recent groundbreaking study, researchers reported making important strides in dry reforming, a process that reacts CO2, instead of steam or oxygen, with methane to yield the mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide known as synthesis gas or syngas, a chemical building block for many products. The promising technology driving a greener future for CO2 is microwave-assisted dry reforming of methane (MW-DRM). According to NETL researchers, microwave systems enable the high-temperature reactions required by the process because they can selectively and efficiently heat the catalyst bed in the microwave reactor without needing to heat the entire reactor volume.
Ongoing NETL research into advanced concrete additives could one day revolutionize the construction of bridges and other infrastructure, saving communities money and time while also spurring economic demand for one of the nation’s most abundant and historic resources: coal. Due to its low cost, versatility, and malleability concrete remains the most popular construction material in the world. However, concrete, at least in its conventional cement paste composition, has several limitations. These include susceptibility to chemical corrosion from the salts used for deicing roads and deterioration from the freeze-thaw cycles that occur when water penetrates cracks during winter months. Traditional concrete also suffers from lower tensile strength, which is the maximum stress that a material can withstand while being stretched or pulled before breaking. These drawbacks lead to lengthy and costly inspection periods and repairs, often disrupting the flow of traffic and public life in general in the process.
FOA Logo
 Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and NETL has announced $118 million in federal funding to support the Coal FIRST (Flexible, Innovative, Resilient, Small, Transformative) Initiative. Under this cost shared research and development (R&D), DOE is awarding a total of $37 million to seven projects and releasing a new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for $81 million. 
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) are using advanced coal-based nanomaterials created by NETL to fabricate a paradigm-shifting computer memory device with improved energy consumption, processing speeds, durability and reduced manufacturing costs. The partnership is opening new commercialization opportunities for coal in high-tech industries and rapidly accelerating fields like artificial intelligence and big data. “Coal is an abundant natural resource in the United States,” NETL researcher Christopher Matranga said. “And while it is generally associated with energy production, coal naturally contains graphite-like carbon structures that make it ideal for producing graphene-type nanomaterials.”
NOI Logo
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and NETL intends to make approximately $122 million available, through a competitive process, to establish coal products innovation centers. The innovation centers will focus on manufacturing value-added, carbon-based products from coal, as well developing new methods to extract and process rare earth elements and critical minerals from coal.  “It’s vitally important that America develop a viable domestic supply of rare earth elements, critical minerals, and other valuable products from our vast coal resources,” said Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. “This effort moves us closer to that goal. The Trump Administration has been aggressively investing in research and development for novel uses of coal that have the potential to create new markets for coal and coal byproducts. Sustaining domestic coal production creates new economic opportunity for coal state economies and benefits the Nation.”
FOA Logo
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and NETL have selected 12 projects to receive approximately $6 million in federal funding to support high-risk fundamental research that advances the science of coal technology at U.S. colleges and universities. These projects are supported through the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002193, University Training and Research for Fossil Energy Applications. This FOA encompasses two separate university programs: the University Coal Research (UCR) Program and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Other Minority Institutions (HBCU/OMI) Program. Each program has its own requirements and restricted eligibility. Projects under this FOA support early-stage, fundamental research that advances the science of coal technologies, while also helping train the next generation of energy researchers, scientists, and engineers at U.S. colleges and universities. The HBCU/OMI program aims to increase the participation of underrepresented students in that research.
FOA Logo
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and NETL have announced its intention to commit approximately $81 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects through the release of the draft funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002180, Design Development and System Integration Design Studies for Coal FIRST Concepts. The draft FOA has been issued so that interested parties are aware of DOE’s intention to issue the finalized FOA later this summer. Projects resulting from the finalized FOA will support DOE’s Coal FIRST initiative.