The Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory has been investigating the economic feasibility of recovery of Rare Earth Elements from domestic United States coal and coal byproducts. The National Energy Technology Laboratory has characterized a number of Rare Earth Elements bearing samples of coal and coal related materials, with the associated results and reports publicly posted at the website listed in Section I Background of the Funding Opportunity Announcement. Information on coal related Rare Earth Element sources and concentrations may also be obtained through the United States Geological Service website listed in Section I Background of the Funding Opportunity Announcement and State Geological Surveys. Rare Earth Elements have been generally found in varying concentrations ranging up to 1,000 parts per million by weight of mixed total Rare Earth Elements in the following coal-related materials in the United States: coal mine roof and floor materials, run of mine coal, prepared coal, partings, pit cleanings, coal preparation refuse, and tailings. Rare Earth Elements can be found in coal byproducts, including ash, coal related sludge, and,or mine drainage. Certain coals can contain a higher ratio of heavy, generally more valuable, Rare Earth Elements to light Rare Earth Elements than found in other sources of Rare Earth Elements, such as natural Rare Earth Element ores. Given the potentially low Rare Earth Element concentrations in the feed materials, and subsequent potentially low yield of Rare Earth Element concentrate from any separation process, minimizing costs is a key challenge. Physical and chemical separations may be useful in recovering Rare Earth Elements from coal and coal byproducts. The forms in which Rare Earth Elements are present in these materials could drive the design of separation processes. As part of its continuing investigation, the National Energy Technology Laboratory is seeking financial assistance applications for projects to quickly develop bench scale and pilot scale projects for recovering Rare Earth Elements from coal and coal byproducts as follows: Area of Interest 1 Bench scale Technology to Economically Separate, Extract, and Concentrate Mixed Rare Earth Elements from Coal and Coal Byproducts including Aqueous Effluents. Area of Interest 2 Pilot scale Technology to Economically Separate, Extract, and Concentrate Mixed Rare Earth Elements from Coal and Coal Byproduct Solids.
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