Clintwood, VA – Nov 17th, 2021 – PMO Virginia, LLC has officially announced that they have been selected as a sponsor and collaborator of the Vibrant Virginia program this year on a unique project involving their coal feedstock for the continued research of extraction and separation of critical minerals and rare earth elements from coal reserves. The project will develop alternative uses of coal in two ways: by recovering critical elements from the mineral matter of coal, such as rare earths, cobalt, and manganese, and by using coal to create lithium and sodium ion batteries.
Another interest of PMO Virginia is to repurpose coal reserves sites in numerous ways that support local and regional economic diversification. One such endeavor would be to produce much needed activated carbon. There are many new possibilities for coal reserves on the horizon for sustainable economic development and to help secure our nation’s crucial rare earth and critical mineral supply chain.
During a recent interview, Donna J. Castro, the CEO of PMO Virginia was quoted as saying, “PMO Virginia is honored to help support the efforts of Virginia Tech’s Vibrant Virginia program to become a leader in the Appalachian region for rare earth element and critical mineral production. As we continue to focus on new technology, we must be reminded that clean coal plays a significant role in the renewable energy sector and supports these fuels on the grid. Coal is a crucial natural resource and necessary for societal development in a diverse number of ways. We at PMO Virginia are proud to support these continued advancements”.
The Vibrant Virginia program, Recovering Critical Elements from Coal and Converting Coal to Advanced, Critically Needed Battery Materials, will be led by Feng Lin from the Department of Chemistry, along with Asst. Professor Wencai Zhang of Mining and Mineral Engineering and Chixia Tian of the Academy of Integrated Science.
Wencai Zhang of Virginia Tech recently said, “Waste handling and rare earth production are two of the biggest issues facing modern society. Our projects have great potential to reduce the high costs and environmental impacts associated with waste treatment, while also promoting the establishment of secure domestic rare earth supply chains.”
Coal production reached 706.3 million short tons in the United States in 2019. Most of the produced coal is used for electricity generation, which inevitably increases the carbon footprint and contributes to climate change. On the other hand, the coal industry significantly contributes to the economy of the United States, particularly states with large coal reserves, including Virginia. This project will address this dilemma by using coal to establish a secure supply of critical elements and fully utilizing it for energy storage without creating carbon waste.
Donna Castro said enthusiastically, “As we continue to develop and focus on new technology, we can extract elements which are critical components in cell phones, aircraft, and many advanced electronics. These are all becoming particularly important in emerging green energy technologies, including electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as wind energy and hydrogen production as a future energy source.”
To learn more about Virginia PMO, visit their official website at www.PMOVirginia.com