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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) announced up to $14 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002185, Advanced Coal Processing Technologies.

The FOA seeks applications for the research and development of coal-derived products as building materials and infrastructure components, as well as other value-added, coal-derived carbon products. The FOA seeks applications for the research and development of technologies capable of continuously producing a carbon foam from a coal-derived feedstock. Additionally, the FOA seeks to support the application, validation, and integration of several carbon-based building products into carbon building structures.

The projects will support FE’s  Advanced Coal Processing Technologies Program, focused on improving coal feedstocks for power production and steel making, producing high-value solid products from coal, and identifying alternative technologies to produce high-performance carbon material from coal.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory will manage the selected projects. The FOA focuses on five areas of interest (AOIs) as described below.

AOI 1: Coal-Derived Components for Residential or Commercial Buildings

This AOI seeks applications for technologies that use domestic coal and/or closely related by-products (coal fines, coal pitch, coal char, etc.) as a manufacturing feedstock to produce building materials for residential and/or commercial applications. Examples of coal-derived building materials include, but are not limited to: carbon foam (graphitic or non-graphitic), roofing tiles, siding, decking, insulation, joists/studs, sheathing, tiles and carpet, wraps and veneers, and architectural block.

AOI 2: Coal-Derived Components for Infrastructure Applications

This AOI seeks to develop technologies to produce infrastructure specific components from coal. Examples of coal-derived materials for infrastructure components include, but are not limited to: structural components for mass transit, components for sewers and tunnels, components for wastewater management or solid-waste treatment, and materials for roads and bridges.

AOI 3: Coal-Derived High-Value Carbon Products

This AOI seeks to develop technologies that use domestic coal to produce high-value solid carbon products from coal. High-value carbon products can have electronic, mechanical, chemical, or surface properties that can produce new classes of high-value products or superior versions of existing high-value products. The market value of these products exceeds the fuel value of coal, representing an opportunity to offer value to both manufacturers and consumers of coal-derived carbon products. Examples of high-value, coal-derived materials include, but are not limited to: graphene, quantum dots, conductive inks, enhanced textiles, battery anodes, and supercapacitor materials. 

AOI 4: Coal-Derived Carbon Foam Produced via a Continuous Process

This AOI seeks applications for technologies that use domestic coal and/or closely related by-products (coal fines, coal pitch, coal char, etc.) as a manufacturing feedstock to produce carbon foam products using a continuous, rather than batch, process. Utilizing coal for producing carbon foam products creates new business opportunities by integrating coal into the value chain of industries that typically do not use coal in their manufacturing processes. Coal-based carbon foam products could find application as energy attenuators, forms for composites production, thermal insulators or conductors depending on graphitization and density, as well as other applications.

AOI 5: Design, R&D, Validation, and Fabrication of a Prototype Carbon-Based Building

This AOI seeks to design, research and develop, validate, and fabricate a prototype carbon building. The building, to the greatest extent practicable, should incorporate emerging coal-derived building materials. These building materials have mechanical, thermal, and/or electrical properties that can produce superior versions of existing building materials. Research is necessary to determine how these building materials can be incorporated into a prototype carbon building design, to validate that the materials are suitable for the intended application, and to fabricate a prototype carbon building as validation of the overall concept. Ultimately, this will reveal how coal can address a very large market (residential and commercial buildings) at a value higher than the traditional value of thermal coal.

Read more details here.

The Office of Fossil Energy funds research and development projects to reduce the risk and cost of advanced fossil energy technologies and further the sustainable use of the Nation’s fossil resources. 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.