SHERIDAN — The U.S. Department of Energy announced Sheridan-based Ramaco Carbon is the recipient of millions in new federal grants to support the creation of high-value alternative uses for coal in developing both advanced carbon products and advanced materials.
Ramaco Carbon is the recipient and a sub-recipient on four cost-shared research and development grants from the Department of Energy, totaling more than $5 million.
These include two grants on which Ramaco is the recipient — with total funding of more than $2 million — and two on which it has partnered with outside organizations and is the sub-recipient.
“We are excited about the transformative potential of these projects,” said Steven Winberg, Department of Energy Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy. “Advancing this coal research and development is paving the way for future technology innovation and integration.”
Ramaco Carbon’s Chairman and CEO Randall Atkins said the research has potential national economic and strategic implications.
“In the end, the goal is to focus federally-funded research toward creating both new advanced carbon products and advanced materials, which can all be developed from our nation’s most abundant natural resource: coal. We hope that this can lead to both a brighter future for the wider coal industry and perhaps even help establish Sheridan, Wyoming, as the Carbon Valley nexus for this cutting-edge research,” Atkins said.
On its lead grants, Ramaco is partnered with TerraPower — a nuclear innovation company based in Bellevue, Washington, whose chairman is Microsoft founder Bill Gates — on a grant to create a manufacturing process for transforming coal to carbon fiber. Ramaco is also partnered with Axens of Princeton, New Jersey — a global provider of refining technology — on a grant for producing pitch from coal for production of carbon fibers.
The company is in its second year as the coal industry partner on a separate $5 million Department of Energy-funded grant project led by Wyoming’s Western Research Institute nicknamed “Coal to Cars,” aimed at using coal as a precursor to lower the cost of manufacturing carbon fiber for the automotive industry.