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DOE seeking to fund research proposals to improve US coal's marketability

The U.S. Department of Energy is seeking research into uses for coal as a feed stock for power, steel-making and creating solid high-value products to improve its marketability.

The department's Office of Fossil Energy is seeking to award up to 10 $9.5 million cost-share grants, though actual amounts may vary, to help fund projects aiming to create new or improve existing coal processing plants that will support the coal sector and jobs while potentially creating a new industry for coal resources, according to a funding opportunity announcement issued Dec. 20. The projects could upgrade coal's properties for electricity generation or steel-making, convert the fuel into carbon materials using alternative technologies such as microwaves or create solid, high-value products from coal.

Applications need to include a description explaining how the project will overcome barriers to improve import and export coal markets as well what products the technology could produce. The deadline to apply is March 12, 2019, and the department plans to award funding within 24 to 36 months.

The department is also seeking designs for smaller, modular coal-fired power plants to help keep the fuel competitive in the energy sector.