There’s a lot of pressure on the coal industry these days, as it is seen by many as being the ‘dirtiest’ fuel used in power generation in terms of CO2 emissions. What happens to an industry like coal if it continues to fall out of favour?
Here’s one possibility — an article published on the GeekWire website talks about a different use for coal that is being explored by TerraPower, a company backed by Bill Gates (which is also working on next-generation nuclear power).
TerraPower is will be working with Ramaco Carbon, a company based in Sheridan, Wyoming, which has recently been awarded $5 million in US federal funding to develop an emissions-free process to use coal to produce carbon fiber. (See Ramaco Carbo news release here: https://www.ramacocarbon.com/news-presentations/)
Ramaco Carbon CEO Randall Atkins is quoted in the GeekWire article: “Our company operates under a simple mantra: Coal is too valuable to burn . . . Through our research, we are seeking higher-technology uses for the carbon from coal, which will increase its value and lower the environmental footprint from its use. Every bit of coal that’s used to create an advanced product or material like carbon fiber is moving us toward a greener future and a stronger American economy.”