On June 26, 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) announced its intention to provide up to $122 million in funding, through a competitive process, to establish multiple coal innovation centers to focus on manufacturing value-added, carbon-based products from coal and develop new methods to extract and process rare earth elements and critical minerals from coal. Innovation centers will be hosted in U.S. coal producing basins (e.g. Appalachian, Powder River, Gulf Coast-Black Warrior, etc.). The centers will research and incubate innovative environmentally sustainable technologies (mining, beneficiation, processing, and purification) as well as provide a foundation for educating the next generation of coal-industry workers (technicians, skilled workers, and STEM professionals).
Public-private coalitions (both new and existing) consisting of private industry, academia, national laboratories, and state and local governments are encouraged to compete to establish the centers. Funding will be provided from the new Carbon Ore, Rare Earths, and Critical Minerals Initiative, which is sponsored by DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy. To learn more, visit the DOE website.