US DoE supports R&D of net-zero with Coal FIRST Initiative

The US Department of Energy (DoE) is supporting the development of 21st-century electricity and hydrogen energy plants that have net-zero carbon emissions.

Through the Office of Fossil Energy and as part of the Coal FIRST Initiative, the DoE has announced four projects for cost-shared research and development under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), DE-FOA-0002180, Design Development and System Integration Design Studies for Coal FIRST Concepts.

The aim of the funding is for the development of plants that have net-zero carbon emissions. The plants will be fueled by coal, natural gas, biomass, and waste plastics and incorporate carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technologies.

The projects will leverage the funding to complete (1) design development; (2) host site evaluation and an environmental information volume; (3) an investment case analysis; and (4) a system integration design study to advance the design of an engineering-scale prototype.

The Coal FIRST energy plant concepts will be capable of Flexible operation to meet the needs of the grid; use Innovative components that improve efficiency and achieve net-zero emissions, including the potential for net-negative (CO2) emissions when co-firing moderate amounts of biomass; provide Resilient power; be Small (50-350MWe) compared to today’s conventional utility-scale power plants; and Transform how coal power plant technologies are designed and manufactured.

The Coal FIRST Initiative recognises the importance of hydrogen production from coal, biomass, and waste plastics.