The US Department of Energy (DOE) is investing $100m in the Coal FIRST, a flexible, innovative, resilient, small, and transformative initiative aimed at developing coal plants that will deliver reliable power with near zero emissions.


Image: The US Department of Energy (DOE) is investing in the Coal FIRST to develop the coal plants for the future. Photo: Courtesy of Khusen Rustamov from Pixabay.

Under the Coal FIRST initiative, DOE will support the research & development (R&D) projects that offers flexibility in operations to meet the needs of the grid and use innovative techniques for improved efficiency with near zero emissions.

The funding will also support projects that transform how coal power plant technologies are designed and manufactured. The DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has issued a notice of intent for an upcoming funding opportunity announcement (FOA), called Critical Components for Coal FIRST Power Plants of the Future.

Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes said: “Coal is an abundant, affordable, resilient, and reliable energy source that, through innovation, will continue to be an important part of the U.S. portfolio for decades to come.

“The Department’s Coal FIRST initiative is helping the Nation secure its domestic power supply by developing plants that are not only more reliable, resilient, efficient, and near zero emissions, but that can adapt to the changing electrical grid.”

The proposed FOA is expected to be issued in August or September 2019,and deliver approximately $100 million in federal funding for cost-shared R&D projects focusing on development of the critical components required by Coal FIRST systems, which may include the development of advanced processes for manufacturing or fabricating components if needed.

DOE said that it will include the specific areas of interest in the FOA through conceptual studies and preliminary front end engineering and design (pre-FEED) studies that FE anticipates to be ongoing throughout the financial year of 2019.

Fossil Energy Assistant Secretary Steven Winberg said: “The Coal FIRST initiative will integrate early-stage R&D on power plant components with currently available technologies into a first-of-a-kind system.

“Through innovative technologies and advanced approaches to design and manufacturing, the initiative will look beyond today’s utility-scale power plant concepts (e.g., base-load units) in ways that integrate with the electrical grid in the United States and internationally.”

DOE has also selected 13 projects to receive approximately $1.95M in federal funding for conceptual designs under the request for proposals for Coal-Based Power Plants of the Future.