WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) today announced $6 million in funding for six university-led research and development projects that will repurpose domestic coal resources for high-value graphitic products and carbon-metal composites that can be employed in clean energy technologies. Expanding innovative uses for coal and coal wastes has the potential to create local jobs and value-added economic opportunities for mining and power plant communities in support of the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of a net-zero greenhouse gas economy by 2050.

Selected projects will support FECM’s Carbon Ore Processing Program, which focuses on converting coal and coal wastes into valuable products for applications beyond traditional thermal and metallurgical uses. Coal’s unique structure and composition make it well-suited for use as a raw material for producing various high-value carbon products like carbon nano-materials, activated carbons, and graphite, which may be used for computer memory devices, LED lighting, solar photovoltaic cells, batteries, capacitors, sorbents, catalysts, membranes, and medical imaging. Carbon ore-derived graphitic products are well-suited to electrochemical, electromechanical, sorbent, catalyst, separation, and mechanical applications.

DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the selected projects:

  • Development Of Coal-Based Supercapacitor Materials for Energy StorageBoard of Trustees of the University of Illinois (Champaign, Illinois)
  • Electrochemical Coal to Two-Dimensional Materials Process to Enable Renewable Energy StorageOhio University (Athens, Ohio)
  • Ultra-Conductive Carbon Metal Composite Wire for Electric MotorsOhio University (Athens, Ohio)
  • Spray Deposition of Coal-Derived Graphene-Copper Nanocomposites for Advanced ConductorsTennessee Technological University (Cookeville, Tennessee)
  • Lab-scale Additive Manufacturing of Coal-derived Carbon-Metal Composites for High-Performance Heat Sink – University of Delaware (Newark, Delaware)
  • Coal-Derived Graphene Materials for Industrial ApplicationsUniversity of Wyoming (Laramie, Wyoming)

A detailed list of the selected projects can be found here.

FECM funds research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects to decarbonize power generation and industrial production, remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and mitigate the environmental impacts of fossil fuel production and use. Priority areas of technology work include carbon capture, carbon conversion, carbon dioxide removal, carbon dioxide transport and storage, hydrogen production with carbon management, methane emissions reduction, and critical minerals production. To learn more, visit the FECM websitesign up for FECM news announcements, and visit the NETL website.