New Wyoming facility to boost REE mining from coal

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Built with a $1.5 million grant from the Wyoming Business Council and a $1.46 million grant from the US Economic Development Administration, the WyIC includes two buildings and seven demonstration sites for pilot plants, allowing private companies and researchers to advance the transformation of coal into a product. and rare earth element processes.

In a press release, Energy Capital Economic Development said WyIC tenants will focus on assessing the commercial viability of high-value, low-emission or zero-emission non-combustible products made from coal and on the extraction of REEs found in coal fly ash.

Previous studies have shown that the region’s Powder River Basin coal contains a high content of extractable rare earth elements in parts of the coal seams, particularly in coal ash produced at power plants.

“It’s the perfect destination to fulfill our mission to research and develop the commercialization of rare earth elements,” said Tom Tarka, engineer at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). NETL focuses on applied research to produce and use clean energy resources and is the first tenant of the Wyoming Innovation Center.

According to Tarka, in addition to the massive facilities, WyIC’s main draw is the 7.5-acre demo sites that function as an open-access platform for tenants to enhance lab-proven processes ranging from using a few pounds of coal per day to process up to several hundred pounds of coal or coal by-products per day.

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