University of North Dakota – Sampling, Characterization and Round Robin Analyses of Domestic U.S. Coal Based Resources Containing High Rare Earth Element (REE) Concentrations

Technology Partner: University of North DakotaAward Number: FE0029007
Project Duration: 10/1/2017 – 4/30/2019
Total Project Value: $ 1,499,580

Key Technology Area: Enabling TechnologiesProject Partners: University of Kentucky

NETL is partnering with the University of Kentucky to identify, locate, field sample, and chemically analyze U.S. domestic coal and coal by-product solid and/or liquid materials that contain high rare earth element (REE) concentrations (i.e., greater than or equal to 300 parts per million total REEs). This project supports NETL’s REE Program by identifying U.S. coal-based resources for developing technologies to separate and recover rare earth elements for use in producing commercial products and national defense equipment.

NETL is partnering with the University of North Dakota to collect and analyze samples of primarily lignite based coal; and also, some bituminous coals from Northern, Central, and Southern Appalachia regions, and coal- related materials (run-of-mine coal; roof rock; overburden clay; shale interlay formations; mine seam underlays; coal preparation refuse; ash from coal combustion, gasification, and liquefaction) that have a minimum concentration of rare earth elements (REE) of 300 parts per million as the material is removed from

the ground, with no processing other than drying. This sample analysis for REEs will be done by inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy. A round robin analysis study will also be performed to quantify the within-lab and inter-lab variation of the most commonly used methods for analyzing REE content in ores and coal bearing materials. The project will provide a more quantitative indication of the location of coal and coal-related materials that have high REE content for economic recovery.

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