Imagine living in a house made almost entirely out of coal — from the structural columns to the walls to the roof. What if this coal house was safer, more affordable and stronger than a traditional home made of wood or brick?
Semplastics, an international material engineering company, is on a mission to turn this dream into reality. And with continued support from the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), this could be accomplished sooner than one might think.
X-MAT, the Advanced Materials Division of Semplastics, has recently received a nearly $625,000 contract from the NETL to create coal-derived building materials in order to construct a coal house. Using coal as the primary medium, X-MAT’s building materials are non-toxic and fire resistant, making them safer than traditional options. They are also light weight, allowing for a quicker installation time and extremely strong and durable. The materials can be used for both interior and exterior needs.
The carbon from the coal used in this new, revolutionary construction process is completely sequestered and is entirely safe for the environment. The coal is mixed with the patent-pending X-MAT coating technology to produce the coal-derived building materials.
“There are so many fascinating, eco-friendly ways to use and recycle coal,” said Bill Easter, founder of Semplastics and X-MAT. “Our team has already reimagined coal in unique ways such as the X-TILE, a lightweight, fireproof coal roof tile that can withstand extreme temperatures. Building a house almost entirely from coal is next on our docket. We’re very thankful to the DOE for its continued support of our work.”
In total, the NETL has awarded Semplastics and X-MAT $6 million in grants and contracts. In addition to the most recent contract, the firm received a $1.4 million contract to create new uses for coal waste, a $1.5 million grant for X-TILES and a nearly $1 million contract to help fund the research for turning coal into battery materials.
“Semplastics’ technologies are coal reimagined,” said Easter. “Not only are we giving coal a new reputation, we’re creating better, sustainable products for the future.”