CAER Director Chairs National Report on Coal-Derived Products


By Elizabeth Chapin , UK Public Relations

University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research director Rodney Andrews, Ph.D., is chair of a new report by the National Coal Council (NCC), which highlights advanced markets for coal-derived products.

The CARBON FORWARD report released this month provides the U.S. Secretary of Energy with an assessment of opportunities to enlist advanced manufacturing techniques that will enhance use of U.S. coal in new and expanded carbon product markets.

Rodney Andrews.

“The many benefits associated with coal-derived carbon products require reframing how we think about coal. As we learn more about its complex molecular composition, we come to appreciate the valuable role coal can play in meeting our economic, environmental and national security objectives,” said Andrews, who also serves as UK’s senior associate vice president for Research and a professor in the College of Engineering.


The report emphasizes the value coal-to-carbon products provide in meeting national priorities including job creation, economic revitalization, environmental stewardship, infrastructure improvement and supply chain resilience. It also highlights the various applications of carbon-based products for the aerospace, agricultural, automotive, consumer goods, construction, defense, energy, environmental and medical sectors.


“U.S. abundant coal resources are an economic and versatile asset that can be used as a raw material in the production of high-value products,” said Janet Gellici, chief executive officer for the National Coal Council. “Other countries are using coal-derived product to advance their strategic goals. We need a national strategic objective in support of coal-derived products to ensure that our nation can realize the full potential these products offer.”


Several other members of CAER contributed to the report. David Eaton, research program manager, Wenping Ma, senior engineer, and Matt Weisenberger, associate director for materials technologies, served on the report working group. Kevin Puckett, senior communications officer for CAER, designed the wordmark and front cover of the report.


The report also outlines how advanced manufacturing technologies will be a critical component in accelerating deployment of carbon products and that successful commercialization of products will require addressing the gap between basic laboratory research and development (R&D) and commercial demonstration by providing increased funding for demonstration projects.


The NCC is a Federal Advisory Committee established under the authority of the U.S. Department of Energy and members include individuals from a diverse set of backgrounds and organizations who provide advice and guidance on general policy matters relating to coal and the coal industry. Andrews was appointed to the NCC by the U.S. Secretary of Energy in 2014.

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