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


Five projects were selected under this AOI, which are described below:


Light, High-Performance and Scalable Coal-Derived Composites for Construction: Precast and Cast-in-Place Applications — C-Crete Technologies LLC (Houston, TX) plans to produce coal-based construction materials that have up to 95% coal by weight with physical, chemical and thermal properties exceeding ordinary Portland cement (OPC). This project will minimize external binders by implementing novel mixing techniques via atomizing nozzles and will demonstrate a semi-continuous production process for precast product via design and fabrication of a bench-scale process. This novel scalable technology can convert all coal ranks to building materials with coal content up to 95% weight of the mix and overall processing cost as low as under $10 per ton.

Funding: DOE: $500,000; Non-DOE: $125,000; Total: $625,000


Coal-Derived Alternatives to Fiber-Cementitious Building Materials — Ohio University (Athens, OH) plans to develop coal-based siding materials for residential and commercial building cladding applications. This project will conduct bench-scale coal extrusion trials to assess material properties and technical feasibility for siding and related applications, as well as develop molecular dynamic simulations to predict properties of coal siding materials. The coal siding will grow the domestic coal value chain, adding new coal demand while supporting the maintenance of current coal industry jobs and generating new manufacturing jobs.

Funding: DOE: $500,000; Non-DOE: $125,000; Total: $625,000


Coal-Based Bricks & Blocks: Process Development to Prototype Fabrication Coupled with Techno-Economic Analysis and Market Survey — Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA) plans to form coal-based bricks and blocks using anthracite and plastic waste binder. Penn State will provide a detailed technology analysis showing what additional research and development is necessary to scale up or commercialize the technology. Economic growth potential provides social benefits such as the creation of new mining and manufacturing jobs, especially in regions adversely impacted by a downturn in coal production and coal-based power generation.

Funding: DOE: $499,713; Non-DOE: $125,060; Total: $624,773


High-Performance Coal-Based Commercial Façade Panels and Architectural Components- Semplastics EHC LLC (Orlando, FL) plans to develop and prove the viability of a new class of composite architectural panel materials that use coal as the primary constituent. This project aims to produce prototype rigid-board panels similar in size to commercial alternatives, generate test data demonstrating superior performance, and establish a plan to scale up production while validating that commercial cost targets can be met. The project plans to secure and consistent channel for the use of coal in building materials, which would not only contribute to sustaining mining jobs, but would also support the full coal supply chain, including transport.

Funding: DOE: $498,700; Non-DOE: $125,342; Total: $624,042

Eco-Friendly High-Performance Building Material Development from CoalThe University of Wyoming (Laramie, WY) plans to develop coal-derived carbon building materials from Powder River Basin coal pyrolysis products. Two proposed building components containing less than 70% carbon are char-based concrete brick (CCB) and carbon-based structural unit (CSU). Products have the potential to be transformational, manufactured at low cost with minimal carbon footprint, in accord with industry standards. There is potential market volume of over $483 million for CCB from 3.61 million tons coal, and over $563 million for CSU from 1.1 million tons coal.

Funding: DOE: $467,620; Non-DOE: $116,879; Total: $584,499


AOI 2:    Coal-Derived Components for Infrastructure Applications


Three projects were selected under this AOI, which are described below:


Coal Plastic Composite Piping Infrastructure ComponentsOhio University (Athens, OH) plans to develop coal plastic composite (CPC) formulations containing at 70% carbon by weight carbon and 51% coal by weight that offer cost, performance and environmental benefits over existing plastic pipe infrastructure materials. CPC piping has lower manufacturing costs and equivalent or superior properties compared to existing plastic piping. CPC manufacturing could generate new U.S. coal demand of over three million tons annually, along with new manufacturing jobs.

Funding: DOE: $500,000; Non-DOE: $125,000; Total: $625,000


Low Weight, High Strength Coal-Based Building Materials for Infrastructure Products Semplastics EHC LLC (Orlando, FL) plans to develop and prove the viability of a new class of composite materials for infrastructure components that use coal as the primary constituent. The potential outcome will result in a secure and consistent channel for use of coal in building materials. Components will be lighter and stronger than commercial equivalents, allowing greater architectural design freedom as structural components, along with greater durability and polish capability, are expected to lead to premium prices.

Funding: DOE: $497,688; Non-DOE: $126,000; Total: $623,688


Utilizing Coal-Derived Solid Carbon Materials Towards Next-Generation Smart and Multifunction Pavements The University of Tennessee (Knoxville, TN) plans to develop and demonstrate a field-deployable, multifunctional smart pavement system made from domestic coal-derived solid carbon materials. The use of coal-derived solid carbon to build and improve asphalt pavements provides an opportunity to utilize coal resources while improving the quality of asphalt pavements. Potential performance benefits include enabling multi-functionalities to reduce maintenance costs, enable a longer service life and reduce travel delays and costs.

Funding: DOE: $430,000; Non-DOE: $107,500; Total: $537,500


AOI 3:    Coal-Derived High-Value Carbon Products


Four projects were selected under this AOI, which are described below:


Low-Cost Conversion of Coal to Graphene: Bench-Scale Testing, Modeling and Techno-Economical Analysis C-Crete Technologies (Stafford, TX) plans to demonstrate the techno-economic feasibility of a 250 ton per day manufacturing facility to convert coal to high-quality graphene. C-Crete Technologies will potentially apply and further develop the knowledge on process engineering, in-line monitoring, artificial intelligence and modular industrial design through a bottom-up approach. The high-value graphene, along with the demonstrated high potential for large markets such as concrete, will derive demand for domestic coals, increasing the value chain across the whole coal industry.

Funding: DOE: $500,000; Non-DOE: $125,000; Total: $625,000


Developing a Facile Technology for Converting Domestic U.S. Coal into High-Value GrapheneUniversal Matter Ltd (Houston, TX) plans to scale up and attempt to commercialize a breakthrough process, Flash Joule Heating (FJH), to transform different coal grades into high-quality graphene. The main objective of this project is to optimize the process by using artificial intelligence techniques and validate the technical and economic benefits of producing graphene by using different grades of coal as the feedstock for FJH process. The potential outcomes of this project are the capability of producing 1-5 layers-thick high-quality graphene in a green, practical and cost-effective process and the capability to have utility across several market segments.

Funding: DOE: $500,000; Non-DOE: $125,000; Total: $625,000


Lignite-Derived Carbon Materials for Lithium-Ion Battery AnodesThe University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, ND) plans to (1) prepare high-performance silicon-carbon (Si-C) composite anode materials for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) using lignite-derived pitch as the main feedstock; (2) identify the optimal pitch from a variety of sources produced by North American coal for LIB anode applications; (3) develop a low-cost and scalable process to make porous and spherical Si-C composite anode materials; (4) evaluate the battery performance of the new Si-C composite anodes and compare with a commercial anode as the benchmark; and (5) investigate the feasibility of making the new Si-C composite anodes at the bench scale. This project will possibly advance the current technology of preparing Si–C anode materials toward a low-cost and high-performance product.

Funding: DOE: $499,815; Non-DOE: $167,650; Total: $667,465


Environmentally Friendly Production of High-Quality and Multifunctional Carbon Quantum Dots from Coal The University of Wyoming (Laramie, WY) plans to develop an innovative, facile, low-temperature, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly technology for producing high-value coal-derived quantum dots (CQDs). The CQDs will be evaluated for two-example application, such as solar cells for clean energy production and photo catalysis for clean air and health protection. Potential success in the proposed project could open a new way for coal utilization, which may lead to the production of a high-value production from coal but also increase in employment and thus contribute to the sustainable development of the coal-based economy. Only water and pure carbon dioxide are generated as byproducts, the latter of which could be directly collected and marketed.

Funding: DOE: $450,000; Non-DOE: $112,500; Total: $562,500


AOI 4:    Production of Coal-Derived Carbon Foam Using a Continuous, Rather than Batch, Process

One project was selected under this AOI, which is described below:

Continuous Processing of Carbon Foam Products Made from Coal at Atmospheric Pressure CFOAM LLC (Triadelphia, WV) plans to develop continuous processing of carbon foam products made from coal at atmospheric pressure, utilizing 90-100 coal by weight with at least 80 carbon by weight. The objective is to significantly reduce the cost to manufacture carbon foam through reductions in capital and labor costs, and significantly reduce the manufacturing time from weeks to hours. CFOAM LLC aims to create a basis for large-scale production platform for carbon foam that can be utilized on the order of hundreds of millions of tons of coal in an environmentally safe process. This project will target applications capable of utilizing carbon foam at large scale, transforming “coal” to “carbon ore.”

Funding: DOE: $1,923,680; Non-DOE: $498,122; Total: $2,421,802


AOI 5:    Design, Research and Development, Validation, and Fabrication of a Prototype Carbon-Based Building

One project was selected under this AOI, which is described below:

Modular, Manufactured Homes from Coal-Based Building Materials X-MAT CCC (Bluefield, WV) plans to establish the utility of Coal-Derived Building Materials (CDBM) licensed from their partner, Semplastics. CDBM components contain at least 55% coal by weight; including the binders within the resin. They contain at least 71% carbon by weight. The proposed work will potentially result in a secure and consistent channel for the use of significant amounts of coal in building materials across North America. Possible advantages include higher percentage of non-toxic fire-resistant materials in residential and commercial homes; faster installation time because of lighter materials; greater design flexibility; and lower total cost and schedule because CDBM can fill both interior and exterior needs.

Funding: DOE: $498,442; Non-DOE: $126,000; Total: $624,442