WASHINGTON (WFXR) — Virginia Tech was awarded $1,499,999 in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding to research how coal could be used to create rare earth elements.
On Thursday, DOE awarded $19 million for 13 projects traditionally fossil fuel-producing communities across the United States to support the production of rare earth elements and critical minerals vital to the manufacturing of batteries, magnets, and other components important to clean energy economy.
“I am pleased Virginia Tech’s Center for Coal and Energy Research will receive federal funding to advance their research of natural resources found right here in the Commonwealth and help discover innovative uses for these resources,” U.S. Senator Mark Warner said. “This project will not only increase environmental sustainability in our communities, it will also help boost economic and job opportunity in the region.”
With the nearly $1.5 million in funding, the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research at Virginia Tech plans to promote regional economic growth and foster new job creation by accelerating the extraction and processing of rare earth elements and critical minerals resources from coal, coal sediments, coal ash, coal refuse and impoundments, acid mine drainage and other basin-specific resources in the Central Appalachian region.
The funding awards correspond with last week’s recommendations of the White House Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization, which outlined a national roadmap to partner with local communities to ensure that the shift to a clean energy economy creates good-paying union jobs, spurs economic revitalization, and supports workers.