Bluefield Company Receives $3 Million to Develop Coal-Based Building Materials | News
A Bluefield company that focuses on the use of coal in the development of building materials receives nearly $3 million in funding.
Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., made the announcement last week during a visit by two U.S. Cabinet members to the state: U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
The company is X-Mat Carbon Core Composites, located in the Marketing Station on Bluefield Avenue, and the Florida-based company and its partners “will build a prototype structure to test coal-derived building materials, including tiles, cladding panels, bricks and blocks The project will produce a detailed design of a carbon-based building and update the technical-economic analysis to improve the maturity of the technology as it approaches a demonstration stage.
DOE (Department of Energy) funding is over $2.2 million and other funding is approximately $700,000. This project was one of many in the state to receive grants out of the more than $210 million in funding available to West Virginia this year through the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
“I was honored to host my friends Secretary Granholm and Secretary Haaland in West Virginia to discuss the ongoing work of the Interagency Coal and Power Communities Task Force and the tremendous investments made possible through to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act,” Manchin said. “At each stop, we heard from West Virginians reminding us of the tremendous sacrifices our coal communities have made to keep the lights on and power our nation.”
Manchin, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said he was “especially excited about the new initiatives and developments we announced to help diversify and strengthen West Virginia’s economy.” creating new, well-paying jobs and revitalizing our communities. ”
“I look forward to working with Secretaries Granholm and Haaland and our public and private sector partners to ensure Mountain State families and communities have the tools they need to build a better future,” he said. declared.
According to the DOE, the project will produce “lightweight, high-strength building materials made from household coal waste. The waste will come from active coal preparation facilities or existing waste storage structures and will be converted into lighter, less bulky and fire-resistant building materials for use in residential, commercial and infrastructure applications.
Bill Easter owns the parent company, Dynamic Material Systems, based near Orlando, Florida.
“We started this in 2017,” he said of the process of locating a branch of the company in Bluefield, establishing a presence here in 2018. “We’ve been at the marketing station for a few years .”
Easter said the company was working on developing building products from coal and coal waste at its Florida labs and wanted a facility here to be close to the source of the material.
“It’s the culmination of those activities,” he said of the DOE funding.
The building that will be constructed from these products is part of the R&D (research and development) part of the plan.
“We had to do a demonstration actually using coal and carbon-based materials,” he said.
The end goal is to build factories in this region to manufacture the goods.
But the whole process takes time, from developing the technology to demonstrating how it works and making changes along the way to improve it.
Easter said he expects the company to have 15 to 20 workers on this project here in Bluefield.
Easter also praised Jim Spencer, the city’s director of economic development, and BEDA (Bluefield Economic Development Authority), of which Spencer is also the director.
“We’re super happy with Jim Spencer and BEDA,” he said. “We are pleased with the Center for Applied Research and Technology (CART) and Bruce Mutter (Director of CART). They are all great people and great people work with them.
Easter said these organizations, BEDA and CART, are “the reason we’re at Bluefield.”
“It was a privilege to work with Bill and Sue Easter on the X-Mat project,” said Spencer. “We are proud of the accomplishments they have made and we are proud that they are at Bluefield.”
Spencer said X-Mat is a “great example” of the type of projects envisioned when the Marketing Station project began in 2016 on Bluefield Avenue in the former freight building.
Spencer led the campaign to secure more than $2 million to renovate the building and create spaces for start-up businesses.
The DOE said the selected project supports the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) Carbon Mineral Processing Program, which is developing innovative uses of coal as the nation undergoes a transformational shift toward clean energy and economic growth through the support and development of new carbon-based technologies in America’s energy communities.
— Contact Charles Boothe at [email protected]