Thursday, February 15, 2024

DOE Invests $17 Million In 3 Projects To Strengthen Critical Minerals Supply Chain: 1 In PA, Another To PA Company, Both Coal-Related

On February 15, the U.S. Department of Energy announced over $17 million funding for three projects that will support the design and construction of facilities that produce rare earth elements and other critical minerals and materials from coal-based resources. 

The projects, funded by the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, may strengthen domestic supply chains, helping to meet the growing demand for critical minerals and materials and reduce reliance on unreliable foreign sources. 

Rare earth elements and other critical minerals and materials are key to manufacturing clean energy technologies here in America—such as solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cells. 

Coal and coal production waste contain valuable rare earth elements that can be used to manufacture clean energy technology components, creating high-quality jobs in communities that have historically produced fossil fuels and helping to combat climate change. 

PA-Related Projects

-- Tetra Tech, Inc. was awarded $5,389,456 ($1,352,487 match) to complete the study and investment plan needed to build a demonstration-scale modular rare earth metals, alumina, lithium carbonate production plant from bituminous coal underlay at a location in Clearfield County.

The study will address Bipartisan Infrastructure Law priorities by completing the following objectives: (1) confirm quality and quantity of five years of feedstock reserves; (2) complete lab-scale production of samples of proposed products and wastes from feedstock sources; (3) complete preliminary engineering design of the facility for the selected site; (4) identify and engage key project stakeholders; (5) update the project business plan; (6) understand environmental impact of the project and develop any required mitigations; and (7) implement a community benefits plan. 

The project is a modular rare earth metal, alumina, and lithium carbonate production plant. 

It will process claystone exposed during surface mining of metallurgical coal for steel production. The expected outcome is to produce an investment package allowing for potential ownership or lending parties to make a financial investment decision to develop the project.

-- Winner Water Services, Inc. based in Sharon, Mercer County was awarded $7,993,082 ($2 million match) for an engineering and design study of a commercial demonstration-scale plant to produce rare earth oxides from coal ash at the Harllee Branch Power Plant in Milledgeville in Georgia.

The FCS established a proof-of-concept commercial-scale plant design for implementing the company’s technology to recover rare earth elements from coal ash. The FCS plant was designed to produce approximately one ton per day of rare earth oxides. 

This mixture was refined to produce (1) concentrated heavy rare earths, (2) combined samarium, europium, gadolinium oxides, (3) lanthanum oxide, (4) neodymium/praseodymium metal, and (5) cerium carbonate. 

The study will focus on further developing the FCS strategy to produce a detailed design and AACE Class 3 estimates for a hub-and-spoke model to generate one ton per day of mixed rare earth oxides from coal ash and refine them into critical minerals for the southeastern United States. 

The targeted scale critical minerals plant anticipates employing more than 450 full-time workers, creating good-paying jobs and economic opportunities in disadvantaged communities.

Click Here for the complete announcement.

Related Articles - Rare Earth Minerals PA:

-- Penn State’s Center For Critical Minerals To Receive $2.1 Million Grant To Build Pilot Plant To Recover Rare Earth Elements, Other Critical Minerals From Acid Mine Drainage [PaEN]

-- Penn State Center For Critical Minerals Develops New Process To Extract Rare Earth Oxides From Abandoned Mine Drainages, Sludges  [PaEN]

-- Penn State Calls For Taking Next Step To Demonstrate Technology For Recovery Of Rare Earth & Critical Minerals From Mine Drainage, Coal Refuse - Build A Processing Facility  [PaEN]

-- Guest Essay: Seize The Rare Opportunity To Resolve Toxic Mine Drainage  [PaEN]

-- New Sensor Can Detect Valuable Rare Earth Elements In Mine Drainage, Other Non-Traditional Sources [PaEN]

-- U.S. Dept. Of Energy Awards $1.95 Million For Conceptual Designs For Rare Earth Mineral Extraction From Coal Sources, Including 4 PA Projects  [PaEN]

-- New Acid Mine Drainage Treatment Turns Waste Into Valuable Rare Earth Minerals  [PaEN]

-- Senate Committee Reports Out Rare Earth Minerals Resolution; Bill Redirecting Coal Mining Penalties in 2022  [PaEN]

Related Articles The Week:

-- 100+ Business, Religious, Community, Public Health, Elected Officials, Environmental Leaders: Pennsylvania Needs a Sustainable, Inclusive Economic Development Plan  [PaEN] 

-- Coalition For Community Solar Access Thanks House Consumer Protection, Technology & Utilities Committee For Hearing, Calls For Vote On House Bill 1842  [PaEN]

-- PennEnvironment Report Finds PA Lags Behind Many States In Rooftop Solar Facilities, Recommends Policies For Improving Growth  [PaEN] 

-- PA Solar Center, Partners Host Feb. 23 Webinar On Solar Energy For Municipalities And Water Authorities  [PaEN] 

-- Penn State: Stable Profits, Land Preservation Matter To Farmers Debating Solar Energy Facility Leases  [PaEN] 

-- Penn State Hosts Feb. 19 EarthTalks Webinar: The Economic Impact Of Carbon Emission Trading Scheme On Building Retrofits  [PaEN]

-- Southwest PA Municipal Project Hub Will Help Municipalities In 10 Counties Apply For Historic Federal Funding To Develop Clean, Sustainable Economic Development Projects, Communities  [PaEN]

-- PA Taxpayers To Give $130.9 Million In Tax Credits To Subsidize Shell Petrochemical Plant In Beaver County; Total Expected To Be $1.17 Billion Thru 2042; No Regard For Environmental Compliance Record  [PaEN]

-- DEP Approves PennEnergy Resources 1.5 Million Gallon/Day Water Withdrawal For Shale Gas Drilling From Big Sewickley Creek In Beaver County  [PaEN]  

-- Natural Gas Intelligence: 76% Increase In LNG Natural Gas Export Capacity Already Under Construction; US Group Fears Buildout Will Hurt American Businesses Urge ‘US Consumers First’ Policy  [PaEN]

-- Bloomberg TV: Canada’s Energy Minister: Period Of Using Natural Gas As Transition Fuel Should Be Short; Gas Should Not Replace Renewables; Canada Has Adopted Controls On LNG Exports The US Has Not  [PaEN]

-- Penn State Extension Energy Essentials: Unraveling Hydrogen Rainbow; Renewable Energy On The Farm; Carbon Markets, Climate-Smart Forestry  [PaEN]

[Posted: February 15, 2024]  PA Environment Digest]

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