Mining Industry R&D Solicitation Awards Announced
May 9, 2005
The U.S. Department of Energy's Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) recently announced the selection of five new research and development (R&D) projects to improve the energy efficiency of the mining industry. The projects, valued at more than $3 million, will develop advanced mining technologies involving both coal and hard rock. DOE will contribute nearly $1.88 million towards the projects, matched by $1.13 million from the private sector.
"Mining is very energy-intensive, and DOE's investment in mining technologies can help make the mining and minerals industries more efficient and environmentally friendly," said Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman. "An affordable, reliable energy supply is essential to America's continued economic growth and job creation."
Each year nearly 47,000 pounds of materials are mined for each person in the United States. The Mining Industry of the Future, a collaboration between the U.S. mining industry and ITP, is working to make the U.S. mining industry the most efficient, advanced and energy-efficient in the world through R&D of innovative technologies. Reducing industrial energy use can lower costs, reduce greenhouse gases and other emissions, improve productivity, and reduce the nation's reliance on imported energy supplies. Through open, competitive solicitations, DOE offers opportunities for industries to participate in cost-shared R&D projects that advance technologies both technically and economically, and show significant potential for successful commercialization. Following is information on the selected mining projects:
Infrastructure for Integrated Data Environment and Analysis (IIDEA)
DOE Funding Level: $1,049,482; Private Cost-shared Funding: $665,300
IIDEA's goal is to lower energy costs in all phases of mining and processing through better monitoring and understanding of production processes. This research program will develop a system to track data—from information, to knowledge, to action—design procedures, reports, leading performance measures, or automated decision-making called "Holistic Process Control Models" (HPCM). HPCM will be a step-change in how mines measure, predict, control, and monitor mining processes. The project team leader is the University of Arizona in Tucson. Partners in this project are Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA; Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA; University of Alaska, Fairbanks; Phelps Dodge Corporation, Safford, AZ; Mintec Inc., Tucson, AZ; and Dimension Technology Solutions, Littleton, CO.
Development of an Ultra-Fine Coal Dewatering Technology and an Integrated Flotation Dewatering System for Coal Preparation Plant
DOE Funding Level: $79,984; Private Cost-shared Funding: $20,000
This project will establish a new, efficient, and low-cost process for coal preparation plants to recover and "dewater" very fine coal so that it can be used as power plant fuel. Removing moisture raises the Btu content of coal, improves handling, and reduces the amount of waste. The consortium will develop an experimental model to test four dewatering strategies. The project team leader is West Virginia University in Morgantown. Partners in this project are Luscar Ltd., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Mineral Technologies International Inc., Morgantown, WV; McLanahan Corporation, Hollidaysburg, PA; and DaVall Bros Inc., Morgantown, WV.
Development of an Advanced Fine Coal Suspension Dewatering Process
DOE Funding Level: $99,912; Private Cost-shared Funding: $53,349
This project will evaluate a two-stage dewatering process developed at the University of Kentucky, using vacuum and pressure to remove water from very small coal slurries (watery mixtures of coal and water). The project team leader is the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Partners in this project are Consol Energy, Pittsburgh, PA; Peabody Energy, St. Louis, MO; and Horizon Natural Resources, Ashland, KY.
Breakthrough Energy Savings with Waterjet Technology
DOE Funding Level: $79,064; Private Cost-shared Funding: $20,000
This project will establish a method for disintegrating hard rock and minerals by using high-pressure waterjets to separate the valuable mineral from its ore, enlarging the ore's fractures to release individual minerals from the rock. The project team leader is the University of Missouri in Rolla. Partners in this project are Doe Run Company, St. Louis, MO; and Gardner Denver, Houston, TX.
Development of a Novel Dry Coal Processing Technology
DOE Funding Level: $568,506; Private Funding: $375,655
This project will develop a portable technology to process lignite, sub-bituminous and bituminous coal found in surface mining operations located throughout the United States. The project team leader is the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Partners in this project are Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA; Massey Energy, Charleston, WV; Peabody Energy, St. Louis, MO; The Falkirk Mining Co./North American Coal Corporation, Underwood, ND; and Eriez Manufacturing Company, Erie, PA.