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DOE to Invest $6 Million Putting Coal Waste to Work Creating Products for the Clean Energy Economy

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has announced $6 million in Federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002405, Advanced Coal Waste Processing: Production of Coal-Enhanced Filaments or Resins for Advanced Manufacturing and Research and Development of Coal-Derived Graphite.

In a shifting energy generation paradigm, innovation is needed to extract the full economic value from coal waste. The Advanced Coal Processing program at NETL seeks to address this challenge by supporting novel technologies to produce valuable products from coal waste-derived sources through laboratory- and pilot-scale R&D.

The use of coal waste in additive manufacturing and graphite production aligns with the goals of the Biden/Harris administration to expand and develop existing and new environmentally sound uses for coal waste, and to deploy these technologies in economically distressed power plant and coal communities. While both coal from existing mines and coal wastes are acceptable feedstocks for these innovations, the use of coal wastes (e.g. tailings, ash, etc.) is preferred. This strategy encourages job creation as the nation transitions to clean energy and will help ensure that the cost of the energy transition is not disproportionately borne by these coal communities.

The objectives of this FOA also are aligned with Executive Order 14008 (dated Jan. 27, 2021), Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which states that “reclaiming abandoned mine land can create well-paying union jobs in coal …” and that “such work should include efforts to turn properties idled in these communities, such as brownfields, into new hubs for the growth of our economy.”

Applicants seeking these FOA funds will be required to submit a preliminary summary of environmental justice considerations regarding their proposed technology, to address how it will remediate the environmental impacts associated with the use of coal.

Applications for two areas of interest (AOI) are being sought at this time:

  • AOI-1: Coal-Enhanced Filaments or Resins for Additive Manufacturing. This AOI focuses on coal-enhanced filaments or resins with superior properties and/or economics designed for additive manufacturing via 3D printing, through either Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) or Stereolithography (SLA).
     
  • AOI-2: Developing Pathways to Coal-Derived Graphite. This AOI focuses on developing pathways for the economical production of coal-derived graphite for use in such applications as battery anodes, bipolar plates for proton exchange membrane fuel cells, supercapacitor electrodes, substrates for carbon-carbon composites and lubricants.

A maximum of six awards is anticipated. Applications must be submitted by May 31, 2021. For more information, visit FedConnect.

The Office of Fossil Energy funds research and development projects to reduce the cost and minimize the environmental impacts of of advanced energy technologies.. To learn more about the programs within the Office of Fossil Energy, visit the Office of Fossil Energy website or sign up for FE news announcements. More information about the National Energy Technology Laboratory is available on the NETL website.