Acting ASFE Wilcox Keynotes National Coal Council Spring Annual Meeting

On April 27, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Acting Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy (ASFE) Dr. Jennifer Wilcox gave the keynote address at the National Coal Council 2021 Spring Annual Meeting. Her topic was FE’s plan to decarbonize the energy sector. She described how coal communities will benefit from the transition to a decarbonized energy sector, and she highlighted ongoing and potential DOE-funded studies that could benefit coal communities.

I have an extensive background in CCS [carbon capture and storage] and other carbon mitigation and removal technologies, as well as an understanding of the pathways that DOE and the Office of Fossil Energy have helped pioneer,” said Acting ASFE Wilcox, who served on the National Coal Council from 2015–2016. “I am honored to add my expertise and commitment to FE’s mission to address climate change and the global climate crisis.”

Acting ASFE Wilcox highlighted the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, emphasizing the important role the coal community will play in the transition to a clean energy economy through research, development and deployment of advanced CCS technologies.

“The good news is that we  have made some progress on CCS over the past decade,” said Acting ASFE Wilcox. “To date, DOE-funded projects have stored over 23 million tons of captured CO2.  And currently, the Phase 3 projects funded under our CarbonSAFE initiative are beginning  development and deployment. When completed, these projects will have characterized sites for storage of at least 50 million tons of CO2 and received permits to begin well construction.”

In addition, Dr. Wilcox discussed the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to developing domestic sources for critical minerals (CMs). FE has been at the forefront of this work, supporting research, development and demonstration of critical minerals, including rare earth elements (REEs) and carbon ore. And Dr. Wilcox highlighted FE’s recently announced funding opportunity announcement for the creation of products using waste coal as a feedstock.

“The use of coal waste in additive manufacturing and graphite production aligns with the goals of the Biden-Harris Administration, to expand and develop existing and new environmentally stable uses for coal waste, and to deploy these technologies in economically distressed power plant and coal communities,” said Dr. Wilcox.

At the NCC meeting, Dr. Wilcox addressed much of the research and development work the Department is doing with carbon removal technologies. Visit FE’s website to learn more.