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Project Review Meeting for Rare Earth Elements (REE) Program

Project Review Meeting for Rare Earth Elements (REE) Program
April 10, 2018

PLENARY SESSION

Tuesday

  • Opening Remarks
    Sean Plasynski, Acting Director, National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy
  • NETL's Competencies
    Randy Gentry, Deputy Director & Chief Research Officer, National Energy Technology Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Administration Priorities and Fossil Energy Programs
    Angelos Kokkinos, Director, Office of Advanced Fossil Technology Systems, U.S. Department of Energy

RARE EARTH ELEMENTS PRESENTATIONS

Tuesday

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4-1 – PANEL MODERATOR – Mary Anne Alvin, National Energy Technology Laboratory

  • Field Sampling and Characterization Panel Discussion
    TetraTech, University of Kentucky, West Virginia University, XLight, University of North Dakota

Session 4-2 – PANEL MODERATOR – Anthony Zinn, National Energy Technology Laboratory

  • Advanced New / Novel REE Separation Concepts Panel Discussion
    Virginia Tech, University of Kentucky, Research Triangle Institute, University of North Dakota, Ohio State University, University of Utah, Wayne State University, Battelle Memorial Institute, West Virginia University

 


2018 RARE EARTH ELEMENTS POSTER PRESENTATIONS

SESSION 4-1

SESSION 4-2 


RARE EARTH ELEMENTS PRESENTATION ABSTRACTS

SESSION 1

04-10-2018 – 0900C
FE0030146 – RECOVERY OF RARE EARTH ELEMENTS FROM COAL MINING WASTE MATERIALS
ORGANIZATION: Inventure Renewables 
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: William Sutterlin
TEAM MEMBERS: TMRC, K-Tech, PSU
PRESENTER: William Sutterlin

ABSTRACT
The objective of this proposed project is to investigate a self-contained, modular and portable continuous ion exchange/continuous ion chromatography (CIX/CIC) pilot plant, at a selected site, and to determine the economic viability of mining and processing Rare Earth elements associated with Appalachian coal deposits.

This project will be a joint development between Inventure Renewables, Inc, Texas Minerals Resources Corp., K- Technologies, Inc., and Penn State University. The tasks are divided up as follows;
TMRC – Identification and characterization of domestic feedstocks, estimating the available resource quantities and mineral reserves, developing Techno-economic analysis for economic recovery and salable intermediate products.

Pennsylvania State University (PSU)- This work will combine novel chemical processing with proven physical beneficiation processes for providing a concentrated rare earth elements (REEs) leach liquor stream derived from clay rich, co-produced coal materials such as those associated with overburden, clay layers under or within a coal stream and cleaning plant refuse.

K-Tech – Bench test experimental designs and data interpretation of test results, leading to design of the modular and portable continuous ion exchange/continuous ion chromatography (CIX/CIC) systems that will be used to separate and purify the high purity REEs.

Inventure – In conjunction with K-Tech, management of the scale up and operation of the CIX/CIC systems and analytical analysis of the REE products. Overall project coordinator.
 

04-10-2018 – 0930C
FE0029956 – PRODUCTION OF SALEABLE RARE EARTH PRODUCTS FROM COAL AND COAL BYPRODUCTS IN THE U.S. USING ADVANCED SEPARATION PROCESSES
ORGANIZATION: Marshall Miller & Associates, Inc.    
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Steven Keim
TEAM MEMBERS: University of Kentucky, Virginia Tech, Minerals Refining Company
PRESENTER: Steven Keim

ABSTRACT
Past research has demonstrated the presence of rare earth elements (REE’s) in coal and coal byproducts. The primary objective of this project is to design a pilot-scale facility capable of producing 10 pounds per day of saleable rare earth elements in oxide form with purities exceeding 90-percent sourced from a Central Appalachian coal based feedstock. Following a detailed characterization of the resource base, conceptual flowsheets will be developed to optimize the recovery of REE’s. Detailed technical, economic and environmental analysis will be completed by the project team to evaluate the commercial feasibility of the proposed processing strategies.

This presentation serves as a project update regarding the characterization of the subject coal feedstock. The research team has identified a feedstock which demonstrates strong REE content compared to similarly analyzed Central Appalachian. Preliminary flowsheet design will be presented and reviewed.

 

SESSION 2

04-10-2018 – 1030C
NETL – JOBS AND TECHNO-ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF EXTRACTION AND SEPARATION OF REES FROM COAL AND COAL BY-PRODUCTS
ORGANIZATION: National Energy Technology Laboratory
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Morgan Summers
PRESENTER: Morgan Summers

ABSTRACT
One of the most challenging questions facing DOE’s REE program is “what level of impact can an REE-from-coal industry have on the US?” Unfortunately, this question does not have a simple answer, but NETL is currently building the foundational knowledge to answer this complex question. This presentation will outline NETL’s plan to estimate the economic impact of a domestic REE industry.


04-10-2018 – 1100C
NETL – ASSESSMENT OF RARE EARTH ELEMENT OCCURRENCES IN COAL RELATED STRATA
ORGANIZATION: National Energy Technology Laboratory
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Kelly Rose
TEAM MEMBERS: Gabe Creason, Burt Thomas, Devin Justman, Jenny DiGiulio
PRESENTER: Kelly Rose

ABSTRACT
US coal basins contain valuable rare earth element (REE) deposits in many regions throughout the country. Most occurrences of REE’s in association with coal related strata are at low, “subeconomic” concentrations. However, deposits of higher, potentially economic REE’s do occur. Developing a geoscience and data driven, method to predict where those are is the objective of this study. At present, there is no method for systematically predicting areas with potentially higher occurrences of REEs in coals. However, REE’s occur in coal related strata because of geologic processes that are systematic. The current unpredictability of REE’s in coal related strata is more a function of poorly quantified REE spatial resource trends and a lack of an exploration method tailored to these resources. Thus, there is a need for a systematic assessment approach that incorporates knowledge of geological variation in the mechanisms of REE enrichment within coal basins.

The method in development utilizes a combination of geologic, geo-statistical and geospatial methods with geological, geochemical, and geospatial data to improve prediction of surface and subsurface REE occurrences. The method is being developed and tested using data and knowledge about REE’s in sedimentary strata for key REE basins in US and globally. When complete, the refined method for assessment of REE’s in coal-related strata will yield a method to support exploration for and prediction of targets of higher REE prospectivity, ultimately improving the commercial viability of REE resource extraction in US coal basins. This approach may also improve the economics of REE prospecting from coal and coal-waste product streams.

 

04-10-2018 – 1130C
TCF-17-13365 – RARE EARTH METAL EXTRACTION FOR CLEAN TECHNOLOGIES
ORGANIZATION: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Yongqin Jiao
TEAM MEMBERS: Dan Park and Aaron Brewer
PRESENTER: Yongqin Jiao

ABSTRACT
There is an ever-increasing demand for rare earth elements (REEs) in renewable energy, consumer products, and many defense and national security applications. Low-grade REE resources in the U.S., such as mine tailings, geothermal brines, and coal byproducts, are abundant and offer an attractive non-traditional alternative for obtaining REEs. The development of new technologies that enable recovery of REEs from these feedstocks could be beneficial. To address this need, we have previously developed an innovative biotechnology that relies on bacterial native systems and enhanced bioengineered features to sequester REEs from low-grade sources. In this proposed project, in collaboration with Duke University, we will focus demonstrating the technology’s scalability and assessing its economic viability with coal products. Our main objectives include 1) demonstrating a cell embedding system that enables an REE recovery process with fast kinetics and high efficiency; and 2) comparing REE extraction performance with different feedstocks to better tailor the technology to preferred substrates. Results will allow us to draw preliminary economic conclusions based on the lab scale engineering data and the relevant market information, ultimately offering a near-term opportunity for extracting REEs in an economically viable and ecofriendly manner for our target market—U.S.-based mineral extraction companies and mining operations.
 

SESSION 3 

04-10-2018 – 1300C
FE0027035 – PILOT-SCALE TESTING OF AN INTEGRATED CIRCUIT FOR THE EXTRACTION OF RARE EARTH MINERALS AND ELEMENTS FROM COAL AND COAL BYPRODUCTS USING ADVANCED SEPARATION TECHNOLOGIES
ORGANIZATION: University of Kentucky
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Rick Honaker
TEAM MEMBERS: R.H. Yoon, Joshua Werner, Wencia Zhang, John Groppo, Aaron Noble, Gerald Luttrell and Qingqing Huang
PRESENTER: Rick Honaker

ABSTRACT
The objective of this continuation Phase 2 project is to successfully complete the engineering development and field demonstration of pilot-scale circuitry for recovering high-value rare earth elements (REEs) from coal and coal byproducts in a cost effective and environmentally benign manner. The pilot-scale circuitry will be demonstrated at two different U.S. coal processing sites at a dry solids feed rate of at least ¼ ton per hour. The specific objective of the first 9 months of Phase 2 is the completion of all field site startup activities such as permitting, engineering design, procurement/bidding, unit fabrication, site construction, equipment installation, module assembly, safety training, and circuit shakedown. The specific objective of the remaining 21 months of effort focuses on field testing activities that include sample collection, sample preparation, exploratory testing, detailed parametric testing, and optimization testing. This period also includes project wrap-up activities such as engineering analyses (i.e., technical, economic, commercialization) and other essential close-out work (i.e., reporting, decommissioning, technology transfer).

 

20180410 – 1330C
FE0027167 – HIGH YIELD AND PRODUCTION OF RARE EARTH ELEMENTS FROM COAL ASH
ORGANIZATION: Physical Sciences Inc.
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Prakash Joshi
TEAM MEMBERS: Winner Water Services Inc., Center for Applied Energy Research (Univ of Kentucky)
PRESENTER: Prakash Joshi

ABSTRACT
The team of Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI), University of Kentucky/Center for Applied Energy Research (UK/CAER), and Winner Water Services (WWS) is working on a DOE/NETL Phase 2 program with the overall goal to develop and demonstrate a pilot scale plant to economically produce salable REYSc (rare earth element-rich concentrates including yttrium and scandium) and commercially viable co-products from coal ash using environmentally safe, and high-field physical and chemical enrichment processes. Specific Phase 2 objectives are to provide: (i) Ash feedstock REYSc content: > 300 ppm (threshold), > 500 ppm (objective, levels we found in several ash sources); (ii) total REYSc content in final concentrate > 10 wt% elemental (threshold), > 20 wt% elemental (objective); (iii) design of a commercial scale production plant with ROI < 7 γ (threshold), < 5 γ 9objective); and (iv) REYSc concentrate in quantities ~ 50 g (threshold), ~ 500 g (objective). The concentrate will be delivered in batches of 5 g split samples.

In the Phase 1 program, our tea has achieved the metrics (i) and (ii) on bench scale. Profitable commercial REYSc production in the U.S. will significantly reduce U.S. dependence on foreign imports of strategic materials that are subject to supply disruptions in crisis situations. The utilization of coal mining/coal combustion products in environmentally benign ways to produce commercially viable rare earth materials will create chemicals manufacturing jobs, stimulate local businesses, bring socio-economic benefits for mining and industrial regions of the U.S.


04-10-2018 – 1400C
FE0027006 – INVESTIGATION OF RARE EARTH ELEMENT EXTRACTION FROM NORTH DAKOTA COAL-RELATED FEEDSTOCKS
ORGANIZATION: University of North Dakota PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Dan Laudal
TEAM MEMBERS: Steve Benson, Dan Palo, Shane Addleman, Mike Jones
PRESENTER: Dan Laudal

ABSTRACT
The University of North Dakota Institute for Energy Studies is partnering with Microbeam Technologies, Barr Engineering, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and MLJ Consulting to develop and demonstrate a novel technology for rare earth element (REE) extraction and concentration from North Dakota lignite coal. The goals of the project are to develop a high performance, economically viable and environmentally benign technology to produce a pre-concentrate with a minimum REE concentration of 2wt%. Phase 1 of the project identified several REE-enriched coal seams in the State and determined that the large majority of the rare earths in lignite are associated weakly with the organic components in the coal. The process development has taken the approach to extract the REE from the pre-combustion lignite due to the ease and simplicity of the extraction process. An upgraded coal is also produced during the process, resulting in multiple potential revenue streams. Phase 2 of the project is scaling up the demonstration to the bench-scale. A series of parametric and production tests will be performed to optimize the process and produce a concentrate suitable for further refining. The bench-scale testing will be followed by a techno-economic analysis, market analysis and preliminary commercialization plan. This presentation will provide a brief overview of the Phase 1 project results, progress to date on the Phase 2 project and plans for completion of the Phase 2 effort.
 

04-10-2018 – 1430C
FE0026927 – RECOVERY OF RARE EARTH ELEMENTS FROM COAL MINE DRAINAGE
ORGANIZATION: West Virginia University
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Paul Ziemkiewicz
TEAM MEMBERS: Xinbo Liu, Aaron Noble
PRESENTER: Paul Ziemkiewicz

ABSTRACT
Phase 1 research identified a two-step refining train will produce a 2% total rare earth element (TREE) product from acid mine drainage (AMD) precipitates. It includes acid leaching followed by solvent extraction (SX). For the phase 2 bench scale system, the acid leaching step will operate in batch made with sufficient storage capacity to feed an aqueous, enriched REE liquor to a bench scale SX plant operating in continuous mode at a feed rate capable of producing 3 g/hour 2% TREE. Important process variables will include feed rate, extractant makeup, flowsheet configuration, and stripping conditions. Operating parameters will be optimized through a feedback-capable SCADA system to be configured to the SX bench scale plant.

Three AMD precipitate sources will be tested. Enriched liquor from the acid leaching module will be fed into the SX unit which will consist of 100 mixer-settlers. This configuration will ensure the final product will reach and most likely exceed the 2% purity criterion, possibly with a heavy and light REE separation. Both aqueous and solid residues will be sampled at each stage to assess recovery rates and separation efficiencies of REE from gangue metals: Fe, Al, and Mn. The acid leaching process will be optimized to minimize residence time and maximize gangue metal rejection. The SX process will be optimized to maximize REE recovery and purity. Results will form the basis for a techno-economic analysis and a commercialization plan.


RARE EARTH ELEMENTS POSTER ABSTRACTS

SESSION 4-1 

Poster 11 
FE0026648 – RARE EARTH ELEMENT IDENTIFICATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF COAL AND COAL BY-PRODUCTS CONTAINING HIGH RARE EARTH ELEMENT CONCENTRATIONS – NORTHERN AND CENTRAL APPALACHIA
ORGANIZATION: Tetra Tech
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Farley Wood
TEAM MEMBERS: Tom Gray, Katie Pugh
PRESENTER: Farley Wood

ABSTRACT
The purpose of this contract is to obtain sampling and characterization of Northern and Central Appalachia Basin coal and coal-related materials with a minimum concentration of 300 parts per million (ppm) Rare Earth Elements (REE) as the material is removed from the ground, with no processing other than drying. Coal and coal-related materials are defined as run-of-mine; roof rock; overburden clays; shale interlayer formations; mine seam underclays; coal preparation plant refuse; and other coal-like materials as mined.


Poster 12
FE0026443 – IDENTIFICATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF ILLINOIS BASIN COAL AND COAL-RELATED MATERIALS CONTAINING HIGH RARE EARTH ELEMENT CONCENTRATIONS
ORGANIZATION: University of Kentucky Research Foundation
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Jack Groppo 
TEAM MEMBERS: Cortland Eble, Jim Hower, Rick Honaker
PRESENTER: Jack Groppo

ABSTRACT
This investigation emphasized collaboration with coal companies actively mining in the Illinois Coal Basin to sample and characterize both current (mine face and preparation plant) and future mining in the region. The approach identified coal and coal-related material in the Illinois Coal Basin that contain elevated concentrations of Rare Earth Elements including Scandium and Yttrium (REScY) by analyzing 59 cores from a variety of sources in addition to preparation plant process streams focused on economic coal beds, specifically Springfield, Herrin and Baker.

Cores were sub-divided into lithographic layers that were analyzed separately for REScY content. While whole cores contained only 19 to 190 ppm REScY (whole basis), roughly 75% of the REScY present was contained in high ash partings, roof and floor material, most notably in the Baker formation (WKY#13) with individual layers containing as high as 928 ppm. These high ash layers were found to be concentrated in middling and coarse reject preparation plant products, which when evaluated by size and density were found to contain 400 to 500 ppm.

Essential conclusion is that coal from the Illinois Coal Basin contains substantial REScY content found principally in inorganic layers of seams that are concentrated in preparation plant middling and reject products, which would be suitable feed sources for recovery processes. 
 

Poster 13
FE0026527 – RARE EARTH ELEMENT IDENTIFICATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF COAL AND COAL BY-PRODUCTS CONTAINING HIGH RARE EARTH ELEMENT CONCENTRATIONS
ORGANIZATION: XLight Corporation
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Robert Uhrin
TEAM MEMBERS: David Uhrin, Eugene Uhrin
PRESENTER: Robert Uhrin

ABSTRACT
Coal and coal-byproducts were collected over a large area of Pennsylvania (anthracite and bituminous), Ohio, and Alabama. The objective was to identify resources containing >300 parts per million (ppm) of rare earth elements (REEs). Sampling was accomplished using a field-portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF) unit to survey potential sources. While XRF is not the preferred technique for measuring REE concentrations in inorganic samples, a Niton XL3t 500 unit was modified to detect elements lanthanum through neodymium (La-Nd) and proved to be beneficial for surveying samples in situ. This approach was also used in the laboratory to iXdenty prospective samples for induction-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) analysis, and 11 samples were found to contain > 300 ppm REEs. A cross-correlation between XRF and ICP-MS analyses was made using yttrium (Y) concentrations as measured by XRF.


Poster 14
FE0029007 – SAMPLING, CHARACTERIZATION AND ROUND ROBIN ANALYSES OF DOMESTIC U.S. COAL BASED RESOURCES CONTAINING HIGH RARE EARTH ELEMENT (REE) CONCENTRATIONS
ORGANIZATION: University of North Dakota (UND), Energy & Environmental Research Center
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Chris J. Zygarlicke
TEAM MEMBERS: UND-Institute for Energy Studies, University of Kentucky, Microbeam Technologies Inc
PRESENTER: Chris J. Zygarlicke

ABSTRACT
The project assesses rare-earth element (REE) concentrations in western U.S. (80%), Texas Gulf Coast (10%), and eastern U.S. (10%) coals, fly ash, bottom ash and acid mine drainage materials. The REEs consist of the lanthanide series of elements with atomic numbers from 57 to 71 and yttrium and scandium.

The objectives include: 1) identify sampling locations that contain >300 parts per million (ppm) on a dry coal basis of REEs and a HREE/LREE greater than 1.0 based on literature, state and federal public databases, and UND databases; 2) conduct sampling using standard methods; 3) measure the abundance of REEs for samples collected and, for samples exceeding the threshold values, use advanced characterization to determine modes of occurrence to aid recovery; 4) facilitate a statistically appropriate round-robin analysis of REEs among select laboratories; and 6) use the refined data and quantification models to estimate REE reserves.

Acquisition of coal and coal-related samples has begun from mine cores, sample bank coals, outcrops, mine high-walls, mine channel samples, mine breakers, utility fly ash/bottom ashes, and acid mine drainage. UND assisted NDGS in sampling Harmon-Hanson upper seam lignite layers where samples averaged 30% moisture, 40% ash, and total REE content ranged from 209 to 397 ppm on a dry mass basis, 479–979 ppm dry ash basis, and with HREE/LREE ratios of 0.32 – 0.63. Characterization of initial samples using standard and advanced techniques, including fractionation and SEM field emission morphologic and chemical typing analysis has been initiated and round robin laboratories are being contacted.
 

SESSION 4-2 

Poster 01
FE0031523 – DEVELOPMENT OF A COST-EFFECTIVE EXTRACTION PROCESS FOR THE RECOVERY OF HEAVY AND CRITICAL RARE EARTH ELEMENTS FROM THE CLAYS AND SHALES ASSOCIATED WITH COAL
ORGANIZATION: Virginia Tech 
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Aaron Noble
TEAM MEMBERS: Roe-Hoan Yoon and Gerald H. Luttrell
PRESENTER: Aaron Noble

ABSTRACT
The primary objective of the proposed project is to investigate and develop a novel process technology that can extract and concentrate rare earth elements (REE) from coal refuse material, namely shales and clays using novel leaching and solution purification technologies. The extraction and recovery technologies will be based on surface chemistry modification and will complement the low-cost ion-exchange leaching techniques that are currently applied for commercial heavy rare earth production in South China. Careful inspection of the published literature has revealed that the ion-adsorbed REEs in coal material exist as two distinct species: (1) ionic species adsorbed by coulombic attraction and (2) colloidal REEs formed by hydrolysis. Each requires a unique extraction strategy, which will be developed as part of the proposed effort. In addition to the ion-exchange extraction technology, the proposed project will also investigate a novel method of solution concentration and recovery based on ion and precipitate flotation. Evidence in the literature suggests that these novel processes may be able to concentrate RE solutions up to 900 times, and as such, they may be able to displace solvent extraction as the preferred method of preliminary solution enrichment. The net result of these outcomes will be a low-cost, environmentally benign process that can be readily implemented at many of the domestic coal production facilities throughout the coal fields.



Poster 02
FE0031525 – LOW TEMPERATURE PLASMA TREATMENT FOR ENHANCED RECOVERY OF HIGHLY VALUED CRITICAL RARE EARTH ELEMENTS FROM COAL
ORGANIZATION: University of Kentucky
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Rick Honaker
TEAM MEMBERS: Wencai Zhang, Aaron Noble and Gerald Luttrell
PRESENTER: Rick Honaker

ABSTRACT
The principle objective of this project is to develop a novel process using low-temperature plasma treatment integrated with hydrometallurgical processes to recover rare earth elements (REEs), especially highly valued REEs (i.e. scandium and critical REEs), from coal and coal byproducts. Low temperature plasma (LTP) will be utilized to pretreat the feed stock sample to liberate, release, oxidize and/or activate the rare-earth elements from organic matter in coal or minerals that are embedded in coal. The LTP technique will be integrated with current state-of-the-art REE recovery processes including leaching, solvent extraction and selective precipitation to obtain a product containing ≥ 2% of total REEs on a dry whole mass basis. The high-valued REEs in LTP treated coal is expected to be recovered at a less demanding leaching condition (i.e. leaching pH, temperature, etc.). The project will be conducted in laboratory scale with a benefit of providing key information leading to overcome challenges in larger scale operations and further maturation of applying the low temperature plasma treatment technique in rare earth production from coal and coal byproducts.


Poster 03
FE0031483 – COST RARE EARTH ELEMENT (REE) RECOVERY FROM ACID MINE DRAINAGE SLUDGE
ORGANIZATION: RTI International
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Zachary Hendren
TEAM MEMBERS: Young Chul Choi, Gyu Dong Kim, Elliot Reid
PRESENTER: Zachary Hendren

ABSTRACT
This project aims to develop a membrane-based, bench-scale system to extract strategic minerals such as rare earth elements (REEs), and other critical minerals, from acid mine drainage (AMD) sludge generated as part of coal mining activities in the United States. We propose to use a staged, membrane-based treatment approach to separate, concentrate, and ultimately recover REEs from AMD sludge. The key to the REE recovery is based on fundamental understanding and characterization of the solution chemistry for a given site. AMD sludge contains a wide range of major constituents at concentrations several orders of magnitude greater than the REE. To reduce development time and risks, the proposed mineral recovery process leverages proven technologies used for targeted contaminant removal in industrial water treatment applications. These technologies will be evaluated, adapted, and de-risked for mineral extraction from AMD sludge. Specific project objectives are:

• Characterization of acidified AMD sludges
• evaluation and optimization of membranes for mineral separation and selectivity
• evaluation and optimization of affinity media for mineral separation and selectivity
• Process techno-economic analysis

To achieve the project objectives, RTI International has partnered with two industrial organizations, Cerahelix and Veolia Water Technologies. Cerahelix is a leader in the development of ion-rejecting picofiltration ceramic membranes, and Veolia is a global provider and operator of water treatment technologies. RTI is a leading independent research institute with well-established translational R&D capabilities in clean energy and environmental technologies and a proven track record with DOE.


Poster 04
FE0031490 – ECONOMIC EXTRACTION AND RECOVERY OF REES AND PRODUCTION OF CLEAN VALUE-ADDED PRODUCTS FROM LOW-RANK COAL FLY ASH
ORGANIZATION: University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Bruce Folkedahl
TEAM MEMBERS: University of North Dakota Institute for Energy Studies (UND IES), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), North Dakota Industrial Commission Lignite Energy council (NDIC LEC), Southern Company Services, Great River Energy, and Basin Electric Power
PRESENTER: Bruce Folkedahl

ABSTRACT
The project’s objective is to develop an economically viable and tailorable rare-earth element (REE) extraction and concentration method for low-rank coal (LRC) ash that produces a concentrate containing ≥2 wt% total REE. This project will focus on LRC (lignite, subbituminous) combustion/gasification ashes. The ash samples will be collected from industry partner facilities, as well as from the existing sample database at the University of North Dakota. The characterization to be performed will fully elucidate the abundance, form, and association of the REEs, both in the feed coals that produced the ash and the ashes. Additionally, the chemical composition, mineralogy, and morphology of the ash will be determined. Based on the characterization results, two ash samples will be downselected for laboratory-scale REE extraction and concentration testing. The laboratory-scale testing will involve evaluation of ash pretreatment methods, dilute acid leaching, and solvent extraction testing, which will be followed by REE concentration testing. The project will also evaluate a novel method of value-added beneficiation of the clean fly ash. Based on the testing, a preliminary technical and economic analysis will be completed to estimate capital and operating expenses and product revenues. The project benefits are the development of a high-performance, environmentally benign, and economically viable technology for REE production from an alternative resource that will limit dependence on foreign supplies and strengthen the economic and national security of the United States. This project will enable technology maturation to the next scale (bench-scale), a foundation for subsequent larger demonstrations and eventual commercial deployment.


Poster 05
FE0031566 – CONCENTRATING RARE EARTH ELEMENTS IN ACID MINE DRAINAGE USING COAL COMBUSTION BY-PRODUCTS THROUGH ABANDONED MINE LAND RECLAMATION
ORGANIZATION: Ohio State University 
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Chin-Min Cheng
TEAM MEMBERS: Tarunjit Butalia, Jeff Bielicki, John Lenhart
PRESENTER: Chin-Min Cheng

ABSTRACT
In this proposed study, an integrated process will be developed to recover rare earth elements (REEs) from acid mine drainage (AMD) using stabilized flue gas desulfurization material (sFGD) and produce a feedstock with above 2 wt.% of T-REEe by a sequential extraction procedure. The objectives of this study are to (1) validate the effectiveness and feasibility of the integrated process, (2) determine mechanisms controlling the recovery, (3) quantify the associated economic and environmental benefits, and (4) evaluate full-scale application potential. To achieve these objectives, tasks are organized into four phases. In the first phase, the research team will collaborate with state agencies to carry out field investigation to screen and evaluate the seasonal changes of rare earths for AMD discharges that have high recovery potential. Next, laboratory-scale column tests and chemical characterizations will be carried out to study the REE recovery process under a range of percolation conditions. In Phase III, a highly selective sequential extraction procedure will be used to concentrate recovered REEs. Finally, techno-economic analysis and life-cycle assessment will be carried out to evaluate the economic and environmental benefits. Potential testing sites for the next-phase pilot scale study will also be proposed. This process can be integrated with abandoned mine land (AML) reclamation to create an approach that can (1) add economic incentives for AML reclamation, (2) remediate AMD discharge, (3) provide a long-term, high-volume beneficial use for coal combustion by-products, and (4) eliminate public safety hazards and threats to local environment and ecological systems posed by AMLs.


Poster 06
FE0031526 – ECONOMIC EXTRACTION, RECOVERY AND UPGRADING OF RARE EARTH ELEMENTS FROM COAL-BASED RESOURCES
ORGANIZATION: University of Utah
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Michael L Free
TEAM MEMBERS: Prashant K. Sarswat, Aaron Noble, Gerald Luttrell
PRESENTER: Michael L Free

ABSTRACT
The objective of the proposed project is to demonstrate and improve methods to economically extract, recover, and upgrade the rare earth element (REE) contents from vast coal-based resources using integrated modeling, coal preparation, biooxidation, solution conditioning, heap leaching, solvent extraction, and precipitation technologies to produce rare earth bearing products with more than 8 wt. % REE in an environmentally friendly way. Utilization of these integrated technologies will enable coal producers to utilize untapped resources to produce revenue and extend resource life while simultaneously reducing future environmental issues and costs as they supply critical domestic REEs. It is estimated that the large-scale cost of processing the rare-earth-bearing coal waste using this technology will be approximately $10/ton of feed to produce the >8 wt % REE product from resources with much larger rare earth value (sometimes more than $100/ton). The final costs, values, and technological and environmental viability of these technologies will also be evaluated as part of the project.

The proposed project utilizes extensive coal preparation experience and equipment with advanced modeling to optimize feed preparation and heap leaching conditions, which will be integrated with biooxidation, solution control, solvent extraction, and precipitation to optimize extraction and recovery of REEs from coal-based resources. Although this approach will be designed for coal ore processing facilities, it will be easily adapted in the future to the recovery of REEs and mitigation of acid rock drainage from coal tailings. Thus, this technology will enable recovery of an underutilized resource in an environmentally friendly way.
 

Poster 07
FE0031565 – COUPLED HYDROTHERMAL EXTRACTION AND LIGAND-ASSOCIATED SWELLABLE GLASS MEDIA RECOVERY OF RARE EARTH ELEMENTS FROM COAL FLY ASH
ORGANIZATION: Wayne State University
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Timothy Dittrich
TEAM MEMBERS: Sanjay Mohanty, Matthew Allen, Shawn McElmurry, Hakim Boukhalfa, Artas Migdissov
PRESENTER: Timothy Dittrich

ABSTRACT
This research aims to develop an environmental-friendly method of extracting REEs from coal by-products with minimal use of organic solvents. The method couples a novel hydrothermal extraction process with the optimization of a state-of-the-art swellable organically modified silica (SOMS) scaffold media to extract and concentrate REEs from coal by-products. The 18-month project will be conducted through a collaboration with Wayne State University engineering and chemistry faculty, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the University of California-Los Angeles. The project has six objectives: (1) collect coal ash and optimize hydrothermal leaching of REEs from the ash under alkaline conditions, (2) select appropriate ligands based on modeling and known functional groups with ability to selectively bind REEs and evaluate the efficacy of pre-existing ligands for actinide/lanthanide separations from the alkaline solution, (3) develop/optimize a process to load selected ligands to the SOMS and evaluate SOMS-ligand stability, (4) evaluate REE removal from alkaline leachate by ligand-modified SOMS, (5) examine conditions for maximum sorption/desorption of REEs on or from the Osorb platform, and optimize extraction of REEs from ligand-modified SOMS to reach the targeted concentrations, and (6) model ligand-Osorb-REE system to inform the optimization processes. The proposed research responds to the needs detailed by the DOE Rare Earth Elements Program for developing and improving recovery technologies for the extraction of REEs from US coal and coal by-products. Our project is designed to improve the economics of REEs from coal byproducts while reducing the environmental impact of a domestic REE supply chain.


Poster 08
FE0031529 – RECOVERY OF HIGH PURITY RARE EARTH ELEMENTS (REES) FROM COAL ASH VIA A NOVEL ELECTROWINNING PROCESS
ORGANIZATION: Battelle Memorial Institute
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Rick Peterson
TEAM MEMBERS: Rare Earth Salts
PRESENTER: Rick Peterson

ABSTRACT
The objective of this project is to advance development of and validate that Rare Earth Salts’ (RES’) novel electrochemical separation and purification process and Battelle’s Acid Digestion Process (ADP) can generate environmentally benign and economically sustainable REE (Rare Earth Element) products from domestic coal ash sources at purities above 90%. Battelle, using its patented ADP (US 6,011,193), will generate a water soluble REE concentrate from pulverized coal combustion (PCC) plant fly ash. Testing will then be done to upgrade the mixed REE concentrate by solvent extraction, eliminating less valuable elements such as iron, aluminum, sodium, and calcium. The mixed REE concentrate will then be separated by RES’ novel electrochemical technology to individual rare earth oxides at greater than 99% purity. Rare Earth Salts’ technology is more environmentally benign and expected to perform this separation at less than half the cost of industry standard solvent extraction processes. Results from these tests will be used to perform preliminary process designs and economic assessments to validate that the combined process is both technically and economically feasible. The outcome of this project will advance Battelle’s solvent extraction REE upgrading process and Rare Earth Salts’ electrochemical process in their application to domestic coal derived feedstocks by validating their feasibility at both a technical and economical level. A high purity product of separated REE will be generated by Rare Earth Salts process from operating PCC plant fly ash extracted with Battelle’s ADP. This will be a large step towards economically accessing coal derived domestic REE deposits. 


Poster 09
FE0031524 – AT-SOURCE RECOVERY OF RARE EARTH ELEMENTS FROM COAL MINE DRAINAGE
ORGANIZATION: West Virginia University 
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Paul Ziemkiewicz
TEAM MEMBERS: Lian-Shin, Harry Finklea, Aaron Noble
PRESENTER: Paul Ziemkiewicz

ABSTRACT
Currently studies by the research team have shown acid mine drainage (AMD) is a promising feedstock for domestic Rare Earth Element (REE) production. AMD is a pollutant generated by many coal and other types of mines and it is treated in compliance with Federal and State clean water rules to neutralize pH and remove metal ions of iron (Fe), aluminum (Al) and manganese (Mn). Treatment consists of alkaline addition to adjust pH, oxidation, and precipitation of metals as hydroxides. REEs also precipitate during AMD treatment and our ongoing study (DE FE00 26927) focusses on REE recovery from AMD sludge.

Conventional AMD treatment optimizes precipitation of the gangue metals: Fe, AL, Mn that must then be separated from REEs. Ideally, REEs could be recovered from AMD upstream of gangue metal precipitation, producing an enriched feedstock. This would reduce transportation, processing and waste disposal costs. Bypassed AMD would then be treated conventionally. The result of this approach will be an AMD treatment strategy that would meet the statutory clean water discharge standards while optimizing the recovery and purity of the REE concentrate.

Prior knowledge of AMD chemistry yields two distinct AMD types: net acid and net alkaline. Upstream extraction methods will be developed for each. The resulting products will be processed through our acid leaching/solvent extraction facility to compare performance with ongoing SX trials using AMD sludge as the feedstock.


Poster 10
FE0026444 – RARE EARTH ELEMENT IDENTIFICATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF COAL AND COAL BY-PRODUCTS CONTAINING HIGH RARE EARTH ELEMENT CONCENTRATIONS
ORGANIZATION: West Virginia University
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Paul Ziemkiewicz
TEAM MEMBERS: Xingbo Liu, Aaron Noble
PRESENTER: Paul Ziemkiewicz

ABSTRACT
In the Appalachian Basin, acid mine drainage (AMD) is a longstanding environmental problem. It is produced in vast quantities at both abandoned and current coal mining and preparation facilities. Coal producers are required to treat AMD to meet permitted water quality standards, and current AMD treatment is focused on the discharge of regulated, compliant water. These treatment systems remove metal contaminants as flocculated precipitates (flocs), which are then separated from discharge-quality water by either mechanical or gravitational settling methods. Known as AMD sludge, these metal flocs are enriched in total rare earth elements (TREE), the sum of all 16 REE. Our earlier studies showed treatment of low (pH <5) AMD produces a sludge with exceptionally high REE concentrations averaging 430 g TREE/t with maximum values exceeding 2 kg TREE/t. On average, about 45% of the REEs in AMD are the more valuable heavy elements: Sc, Y, Gd-Lu while 61% of the REEs are heavy and critical elements. This compare favorably with many conventional REE ore deposits, most of which are predominantly light REEs.

The objective of this study is to estimate the mass of REE that are generated annually through AMD discharge and the mass that has been collected and stored as AMD sludge at coal mining sites in the central and northern Appalachian coal basins. Sampling is complete through about 1/3 are still undergoing analysis. Preliminary results annual, regional TREE is about 600 t/yr with about 200 t stored at the sampled locations as AMD sludge.