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Those interested in learning about the Biden administration’s Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization can do so during the upcoming American Coal Council “Coal Q&A” webinar. The American Coal Council’s Coal Q&A webinar series is a longstanding virtual educational forum for addressing important issues affecting the coal industry. Scheduled for 2-3 p.m. EDT Thursday, July 1, NETL Director Brian Anderson will be the featured presenter. A longtime resident of West Virginia with extensive expertise in regional innovation and coal and energy technology development, Anderson also serves as the IWG executive director. The webinar will touch on IWG members and what are they tasked with, identification of existing federal programs with funding available to invest in priority communities, the first IWG report, and upcoming IWG activities and work targets.
With NETL leadership and support, researchers at Battelle successfully helped to pave the way for commercial deployment of carbon capture, storage and utilization (CCUS) technologies that will reduce the effects of climate change while utilizing America’s fossil energy resources through vital research associated with the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP). CCUS has been identified as one of most reliable and feasible means of addressing climate change while still maintaining the flow of energy supplies to an increasingly tech-driven and power-hungry globalized economy. The Midwest region of the U.S. in particular is undergoing a major energy transition from coal-based sources to sharply increasing natural gas. This necessitates the use of CCUS for disposition of carbon dioxide, which requires characterization, qualification and development of numerous storage sites to complement the carbon capture. These future projects also offer a major employment opportunity for workers in the oil and gas related industries.
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Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) announced $8 million in federal funding for four projects to develop and test technologies that capture and utilize carbon dioxide (CO2) from power systems or other industrial sources to create valuable products and services, biomass and bi-products. Using algae, the selected projects will develop conversion technologies to decrease emissions, helping to reach the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050. “Capturing and utilizing CO2 from sources across power and industrial sectors is critical to fighting climate change — and to creating new jobs and opportunities in hard hit communities across the country,” said Dr. Jennifer Wilcox, Acting Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. “These projects represent an important step in those efforts.”
In the continuing effort to reach the Administration’s net-zero carbon emission goals in the power sector by 2035 and the broader economy by 2050, NETL is advancing emerging carbon dioxide (CO2) capture research areas such as direct air capture (DAC) and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) by engaging in extramural collaborations with the private sector, academia and other national laboratories. “DAC with carbon storage and BECCS are both negative emission technologies,” said Krista Hill, federal project manager on the carbon capture team. “This means that carbon dioxide is both removed from the atmosphere and then geologically stored. In DAC, CO2 is pulled directly from the air, whereas BECCS involves the use of biomaterials that naturally remove CO2 during their life cycle and then are burned to generate power in systems equipped with carbon capture and storage.”
NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., will present the keynote address “Paving the Way to a Decarbonized Energy Future” at 10 a.m. ET Wednesday, June 23, during the POWERGEN+ Series: The Future of Electricity. “By undertaking a diverse mix of critical projects, NETL is leading efforts to meet the ambitious goals of the Biden Administration calling for a carbon emission-free electricity sector by 2035 and economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050,” Anderson said. “I look forward to discussing the outstanding work we are completing with our partners in industry and at leading research universities as we prepare to undergo a historic energy evolution to achieve environmental sustainability, strengthen U.S. energy security and spur economic growth,” Anderson said. Click here to register for Anderson’s virtual presentation.
In partnership with NETL, researchers at Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Rutgers, Arizona State University, OLI Systems and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are developing new sensing methods of detecting rare earth elements (REEs) contained within America’s fossil energy resources using luminescent detection. REEs include the lanthanide elements along with scandium and yttrium. These elements are used in a wide variety of strategic and economically vital industries such as energy, defense, medical technology and consumer electronics. With most existing REE supplies controlled by foreign countries, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and NETL have funded numerous research projects that will create a domestic REE supply chain using the nation’s historic energy resources. INL sought to develop a new simple, sensitive and rapid approach for detecting REEs in any kind of carbon-based solid or liquid. This approach had to be applicable to diverse chemical and mineral matrices that will effectively detect REEs in aqueous solutions at less than one part per million (ppm) and distinguish it between multiple REEs co-occurring in the same sample.
Rare Earths
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) has awarded nearly $18 million to advance eight projects to extract Rare Earth Elements (REEs) and other Critical Minerals (CMs) from materials such as coal waste materials and support revitalization in regions across the country that face economic adversity due to declines in coal and power plants communities. Each of the eight projects had previously worked with DOE to develop a conceptional design of a technology to produce at least 1-3 metric tons per day of mixed rare earth oxides or rare earth salts and other critical minerals (CMs) from mostly coal-based sources. Rare earth elements and critical minerals are vital in the construction of medical equipment, energy components, defense technologies, modern electronics and a host of other consumer goods. 
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Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $12 million in federal funding for six research and development (R&D) projects that are advancing direct air capture (DAC) technology, a carbon dioxide removal approach that extracts carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the atmosphere. The projects, housed at universities and labs in Arizona, North Carolina, Illinois and Kansas, are creating tools that will increase the amount of CO2 captured by DAC, decrease the cost of materials, and improve the energy efficiency of carbon removal operations. When deployed, this next generation of clean energy technology will help reach the Biden-Harris Administration's goal of a net-zero emissions by 2050.
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NETL’s Energy Data eXchange (EDX) has served as a virtual platform for the public curation of research data and tools for more than a decade, bringing together researchers from across the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM). Now, as the Biden Administration begins the transition to a clean energy economy, the data and models available through EDX are helping shape this new future where federal leadership will partner with power plant communities to create good-paying union jobs, spur economic revitalization, mediate environmental degradation and support energy workers.
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) announced the selection of three projects to receive $1.5 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development (R&D) to explore how carbon-based building materials can support the Administration’s commitment to building a clean energy economy that creates good-paying union jobs and transforms disadvantaged areas into healthy and thriving communities. The selected projects will investigate the impacts of using carbon-based building materials, including opportunities to develop superior construction materials that offer lower lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions and other improved properties. Superior carbon-based building materials may also contribute to the development of a new industry—creating new jobs for communities that have disproportionately suffered adverse economic, health, environmental, and climate impacts.  The selected projects follow: