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Energy Department announces plans to establish coal products innovation centers

Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer said the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a $122 million competitive funding opportunity to establish coal products innovation centers.

The new centers are funded through the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy.

The innovation centers would align closely with projects at the University of North Dakota (UND) and its Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC).

“Coal is an essential source of baseload power for our nation, but beyond that, it offers tremendous new economic opportunities,” said Hoeven. “From using captured CO2 for enhanced oil recovery and other industrial purposes to producing critical materials and rare earth elements, there are a wide variety of avenues our innovators, like those at the EERC, are exploring to add value to our abundant coal resources. Because of this, North Dakota would be an excellent choice for a new coal products innovation center, and we encourage interested stakeholders in our state to apply.”

Cramer said, “Secretary Brouillette and the Trump Administration are making significant investments in research and development aimed at creating new, innovative markets for coal. North Dakota would be an excellent choice to host one of these innovation centers, and I hope the Energy Department seriously considers the resources and expertise our state possesses.”

According to the Energy Department, 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. The Williston basin is an example of a coal basin which could host one of these innovation centers. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette announced the Department’s intention to make these funds available.

“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,” Cramer said.

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