The US Department of Energy (DOE) intends to provide up to $100 million in awards (DE-FOA-0002116) for the Coal FIRST (Flexible, Innovative, Resilient, Small, and Transformative) initiative (announced in November 2018), which aims to develop coal plants of the future that will provide secure, stable, reliable power with near-zero emissions. In 2017, coal was the second-largest energy source for electricity generation in the United States.
Under the Coal FIRST initiative, DOE is supporting research and development (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 CO2 capture;
Provide resilient power;
Are small compared to today’s conventional utility-scale coal; and
Transform how coal power plant technologies are designed and manufactured. . . .
Separately, DOE also announced the selection of 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. DOE has the option to request that any of the projects conduct pre-FEED studies to prove the technical and economic feasibility of the approach identified in the conceptual design.
Earlier in April, the DOE announced up to $87.3 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development (R&D) projects for advanced coal technologies and research.
The R&D projects for coal-fueled power plants and technologies will fall under five separate funding opportunity announcements (FOAs):
Advancing Steam Turbine Performance for Coal Boilers. (DE-FOA-0001996) This FOA seeks to improve the performance of steam-based power cycles, resulting in a lower cost of electricity with reduced emissions per megawatt-hour for coal-fueled boilers. This FOA also includes an area of interest for conceptual engineering design for steam turbines in the 50–350 MW range in support of DOE’s Coal FIRST initiative. DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy’s (FE) Advanced Turbines Program will support these projects. DOE Funding: Up to $22 million.
Transformational Sensing Systems for Monitoring the Deep Subsurface. (DE-FOA-0001998) This FOA seeks to reduce uncertainty and enable real-time decision making associated with subsurface carbon dioxide storage. FE’s Carbon Storage Research Program will support these projects. DOE Funding: Up to $4.8 million.
Crosscutting Research for Coal-Fueled Power Plants. (DE-FOA-0002001) This FOA aims to develop innovative technologies that will enhance the performance and economics of the existing and future coal fleet—thereby lowering electricity costs for consumers. FE’s Crosscutting Research Program will support these projects. DOE Funding: Up to $14.5 million.
Advanced Materials for High-Efficiency, Flexible and Reliable Coal-Fueled Power Plants. (DE-FOA-0002002) This FOA will reduce the cost and enhance the cyclic durability of materials used in advanced ultrasupercritical power plants. These advanced materials are critical to increasing the efficiency and reliability of coal-fueled power plants. FE’s Advanced Materials Program will support these projects. DOE Funding: Up to $26 million.
Process Scale-Up and Optimization/Efficiency Improvements for Rare Earth Elements (REE) and Critical Materials (CM) Recovery from Coal-Based Resources. (DE-FOA-0002003) This FOA will support cooperative agreements to advance the development of technologies for recovery REEs and CMs from domestic coal-based resources through both novel and conventional extraction, separation, and recovery processes. FE’s Feasibility of Recovering Rare Earth Elements Program will support these projects. DOE Funding: Up to $20 million. . . .