Innovating with Coal-Based Materials

CONSOL Energy recently announced an investment in the innovative coal-to-products market by acquiring a 25% equity interest in CFOAM Corp., a manufacturing company that uses coal to produce high-performance engineered materials from coal for the industrial, aerospace, military and commercial product markets. CFOAM has manufacturing facilities in Triadelphia, West Virginia.

Jimmy Brock, President and CEO of CONSOL Energy Inc., said, “This is our first major step in the coal-to-products area, which leverages certain attractive properties of coal but with significantly lower emissions and greater value uplift potential than conventional combustion applications. These products not only provide a high-margin revenue stream but also provide an intriguing new opportunity to utilize the vast resource base that our country is endowed with.”

There is growing recognition and excitement over the potential of using coal to produce advanced materials. Addison Stark, the associate director for energy innovation at the Bipartisan Policy Center, told E&E News, “I think that what’s happening here is recognition that with innovation we can find new use cases for what is a very large and abundant natural resource in America.”

A recent report from the national Coal Council found that the global market for coal-to-products could consume an estimated 300-400 million tons of coal annually.