COAL TO CARBON FIBER
UTAH COAL OFFERS PATH TO ADVANCED MATERIALS
A multimillion-dollar research program underway at the University of Utah is working to develop cost-effective, carbon-friendly methods of turning coal-derived pitch into carbon fiber composite material.
Combining Utah’s vast coal resources with advanced research and state-of-the-art manufacturing is expected to create groundbreaking products from coal — including carbon fiber for vehicles and airplanes, carbon-based building materials, medical technology devices and more.
“Using coal-based materials to produce high-value carbon fiber for composites would be a terrific benefit to the state. It would support rural initiatives and help maintain Utah’s role as a global leader in advanced carbon research and development.”Dr. Eric Eddings, University of Utah research team lead.
In addition to the work being conducted in Utah, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Manufacturing High-value Carbon Products from Domestic Coal Initiative supports development of innovative ideas for creating commercially-viable technologies where domestic coal is an essential material.
Along with the many products that already use some coal-based components — including aspirin, soap, dyes, solvents, plastics and synthetic fibers — high-tech products that make use of coals properties while reducing costs and energy consumption could make a significant difference in Utah.