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The Carbon Age: Forecasting the Future of Coal

The National Coal Council (NCC) recently released a 72-page report requested in August by U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry. “Coal in a New Carbon Age: Powering a Wave of Innovation in Advanced Products and Manufacturing” was chaired by Ramaco Carbon CEO Randall Atkins.

The report concludes that coal offers potential well beyond its current uses.

“Existing and future markets for U.S. coal in this emerging Carbon Age present our nation with compelling opportunities both in advanced materials and advanced forms of manufacturing,” Atkins, who also serves as NCC vice chair, said in a press release. “Remarkably, the analysis undertaken in this report indicates that volume utilization of domestic U.S. coal resources for coal-to-products applications has the potential to be on the same order of magnitude as applications for coal power generation.”

Members of the NCC are appointed by the Secretary of Energy to provide advice and guidance on general policy matters relating to coal and the coal industry.

The report recommends three objectives for the Department of Energy to pursue:

  • Establish a focused research and development program on coal-to-products.
  • Accelerate research-to-commercial deployment in coal-to-products market sectors.
  • Incentivize private sector investment in coal-to-products production and manufacturing sectors.

“Advanced uses of carbon from coal can also lead to cleaner energy, cleaner water and cleaner air,” noted NCC CEO Janet Gellici. “The environmental benefits of durable, light-weight, and high-strength carbon products provide more incentives to advance the commercialization of these technologies.”

Click here for a condensed “fact sheet” version of the report.