The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) announced investments for the Coal FIRST (Flexible, Innovative, Resilient, Small, and Transformative) initiative, which aims to develop coal plants of the future that will provide secure, stable, reliable power with near zero emissions. DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE) issued a Notice of Intent for the funding opportunity, which will make available up to approximately $100 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development (R&D) projects that focus on developing the components required by Coal FIRST systems.

“Coal is an abundant, affordable, resilient, and reliable energy source that, through innovation, will continue to be an important part of the U.S. portfolio for decades to come,” said Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “The Department’s Coal FIRST initiative is helping the nation secure its domestic power supply by developing plants that are not only more reliable, resilient, efficient, and near zero emissions, but that can adapt to the changing electrical grid.”

Under the Coal FIRST initiative, DOE is supporting R&D projects that will help develop plants that are capable of flexible operations to meet the needs of the grid; use innovative and cutting-edge components that enable improved efficiency and have near zero emissions with carbon dioxide (CO2) capture; provide resilient power to Americans; are small compared to today’s conventional utility-scale coal-fired power plants; and transform how coal power plant technologies are designed and manufactured.

If needed, the R&D projects may include the development of advanced processes for manufacturing or fabricating components.

The funding opportunity announcement will be issued in August or September.

“The Coal FIRST initiative will integrate early-stage R&D on power plant components with currently available technologies into a first-of-a-kind system,” said Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg. “Through innovative technologies and advanced approaches to design and manufacturing, the initiative will look beyond today’s utility-scale power plant concepts (e.g., base-load units) in ways that integrate with the electrical grid in the United States and internationally.”

DOE also announced it has selected 13 projects to receive approximately $1.95 million in federal funding for conceptual designs under the request for proposals for Coal-Based Power Plants of the Future.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory will manage the projects, performed by the following recipients:
8 Rivers Capital LLC (Durham, North Carolina) — DOE Funding: $149,147
Allegheny Science & Technology (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) — DOE Funding: $149,998
Barr Engineering Co. (Minneapolis, Minnesota) — Concept 1: DOE Funding: $150,000
Barr Engineering Co. (Minneapolis, Minnesota) — Concept 2: DOE Funding: $150,000
CONSOL Pennsylvania Coal Company (Canonsburg, Pennsylvania) — DOE Funding: $147,000
Constantem Technologies (Pensacola, Florida) — DOE Funding: $150,000
Echogen Power Systems (Akron, Ohio) — DOE Funding: $150,000
Electric Power Research Institute (Palo Alto, California) — DOE Funding: $150,000
Hydrogen Energy California (Concord, Massachusetts) — DOE Funding: $150,000
Nexant Inc. (San Francisco, California) — DOE Funding: $150,000
Washington University (St. Louis, Missouri) — DOE Funding: $150,000
Wormser Energy Solutions Inc. (Lancaster, Massachusetts) — Concept 1: DOE Funding: $150,000
Wormser Energy Solutions Inc. (Lancaster, Massachusetts) — Concept 2: DOE Funding: $150,000