Hoeven: Department of Energy to Establish Coal Innovation Centers

Senator Funded Office of Fossil Energy Research & Development Initiatives, New Centers Align Closely With Work of UND’s EERC

BISMARCK, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a $122 million competitive funding opportunity to establish coal products innovation centers. The new centers are funded through the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy, for which Hoeven has helped ensure strong funding through his role on the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Committee.

Further, the innovation centers align closely with projects at the University of North Dakota (UND) and its Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC), which Hoeven has supported, to develop and demonstrate value-added applications for coal, including extracting rare earth elements and producing graphene. Hoeven stressed the importance of such efforts at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing earlier this week.

“Coal is an essential source of baseload power for our nation, but beyond that, it offers tremendous new economic opportunities,” said Hoeven. “From using captured COfor enhanced oil recovery and other industrial purposes to producing critical materials and rare earth elements, there are a wide variety of avenues our innovators, like those at the EERC, are exploring to add value to our abundant coal resources. Because of this, North Dakota would be an excellent choice for a new coal products innovation center, and we encourage interested stakeholders in our state to apply.”

The innovation centers will build on Hoeven’s broader efforts to provide a true path forward for North Dakota’s coal producers and ensure the nation continues to harness this abundant resource. Among other things, the senator:

  • Helped fund the Plains Carbon Dioxide Reduction (PCOR) Partnership, which is led by the EERC, as well as the CarbonSAFE Initiative, which earlier this year awarded $17 million to Project Tundra, a carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) initiative led by the EERC.
  • Advanced the implementation of the 45Q tax credit to help make CCUS projects more commercially-viable.
  • Continues to work to ensure a fair value for coal as a reliable and affordable source of baseload power.