Tag Archives: National Energy Technology Laboratory

Energy Fuels to evaluate rare earth oxide potential from coal-based resources

Energy Fuels Inc, in partnership with a team from Penn State, is to start work on a project evaluating and developing a conceptual design to allow for the commercial production of mixed rare earth oxides (REO) from coal-based resources in an environmentally-benign fashion.

The company said it has been advised by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) of their intent to award a contract to Energy Fuels, working with the team from Penn State, on this project. Furthermore, the DOE has the option to award Energy Fuels a contract for the completion of a feasibility study on this initiative, Energy Fuels said.

The DOE has already demonstrated the technical feasibility of extracting rare earth elements (REE) from coal and coal-based resources, including coal refuse, over/under burden materials, power generation ash and the like, but it now wishes to accelerate the advancement of commercially viable technologies to produce REE from these coal-based resource, Energy Fuels says.

Energy Fuels applied for this grant in June 2020, as REEs contained in these coal-based resources are similar to the REEs contained in other materials the company is currently evaluating in its REE program.

The first phase of DOE funding will allow Energy Fuels and the team from Penn State to complete a detailed conceptual design and flowsheet for the potential commercial operation of a facility that produces REOs from coal-based resources, Energy Fuels said. Following this phase, the DOE will conduct a merit evaluation and determine whether to award the funding for the development of a feasibility study.

Mark S Chalmers, President and CEO of Energy Fuels, said: “We are excited to have the opportunity to work with the DOE office of FE, the NETL, and Penn State on this important rare earth initiative. Energy Fuels has been carrying out substantial work over the past year to explore the potential for implementing a commercial rare earth recovery and processing program at our White Mesa Mill (pictured).

“This initiative to produce REOs from coal-based resources is complementary to our ongoing efforts and will potentially broaden the sources of REE feedstock available to us in the future. We also hope this project opens the door for us to work with the DOE and other agencies on future rare earth initiatives.”

US Department of Energy to provide funding for coal-based product innovations

The US Department of Energy (DOE) says it intends to make approximately $122 million available to establish coal product innovation centres that 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 DOE anticipates funding innovation centres in multiple US coal producing basins.

New and existing coalitions of private industry, academia, national laboratories, and state and local governments are encouraged to compete to establish the centres, it said.

“Once established, the public-private innovation centres will research and incubate innovative mining, beneficiation, processing, and purification technologies that are environmentally sustainable,” the DOE said. “Each centre will also provide a foundation for educating the next generation of technicians, skilled workers, and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professionals.”

US Secretary of Energy, Dan Brouillette, said: “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. This effort moves us closer to that goal.

“The Trump Administration has been aggressively investing in research and development for novel uses of coal that have the potential to create new markets for coal and coal by-products. Sustaining domestic coal production creates new economic opportunity for coal state economies and benefits the nation.”

Examples of US coal basins, which could host an innovation centre, include: the Appalachian basin (Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia), the San Juan River-Raton-Black Mesa basin (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico), the Illinois basin (Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee), the Williston basin (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota), the Powder River basin (Montana, Wyoming), the Uinta basin (Colorado, Utah), the Green River-Wind River basin (Colorado, Wyoming), the Gulf Coast-Black Warrior basin (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas), and Alaska, covering 22 states.

The funding for the innovation centres will be provided from the new Carbon Ore, Rare Earths, and Critical Minerals (CORE-CM) Initiative, which is sponsored by DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy. This will be made available through one or more Funding Opportunity Announcements issued this summer by DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), it said.

Steven Winberg, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, said: “These planned innovation centres and other efforts supported by the new CORE-CM initiative will build on the amazing work that NETL and our partners have been doing for years on rare earth elements, critical minerals, and value-added products from coal.

“We’re excited about our path forward and the economic opportunity it creates for coal producing regions of the country and the United States.”