WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 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.”

DOE anticipates funding innovation centers in a multiple of U.S. coal producing basins. New and existing coalitions of private industry, academia, national laboratories, and state and local governments are encouraged to compete to establish the centers. Once established, the public-private innovation centers will research and incubate innovative mining, beneficiation, processing, and purification technologies that are environmentally sustainable. Each center will also provide a foundation for educating the next generation of technicians, skilled workers, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professionals.                                                      

Examples of U.S. coal basins, which could host an innovation center, include: the Appalachian basin (KY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV), the San Juan River-Raton-Black Mesa basin (AZ, CO, NM), the Illinois basin (KY, IL, IN, TN), the Williston basin (MT, ND, SD), the Powder River basin (MT, WY), the Uinta basin (CO, UT), the Green River-Wind River basin (CO, WY), the Gulf Coast-Black Warrior basin (AL, AR, LA, MS, TX), and Alaska, covering 22 states.

The funding for the innovation centers will be provided from the new Carbon Ore, Rare Earths, and Critical Minerals (CORE-CM) Initiative, which is sponsored by DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy.  The funding will be made available through one or more Funding Opportunity Announcements issued this summer by DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).

“These planned innovation centers and other efforts supported by the new CORE-CM initiative will build on the amazing work that NETL and our partners have been doing for years on rare earth elements, critical minerals, and value-added products from coal,” noted Steven Winberg, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy. “We’re excited about our path forward and the economic opportunity it creates for coal producing regions of the country and the United States.”

More information on this notice of intent can be found here.

To learn more about these programs, 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