Via The Bluefield Daily Telegraph:
In a possible new use for coal, the U.S. Department of Energy is providing $3 million for a Bluefield-based project to test coal-derived building materials, including roof tiles, siding panels, bricks and blocks. The project, which will be stationed at the Bluefield Commercialization Station, could lead to a larger manufacturing development for the region in the future.
It’s another exciting development for Bluefield, which is in the midst of a period of renewed economic development and growth. The Florida-based company overseeing the project, X-Mat Carbon Core Composites, will produce “high-strength, lightweight building materials made from domestic coal waste,” according to the DOE. “The waste will be sourced from active coal preparation facilities or existing waste storage structures and converted into building materials that are lighter, less bulky and fire-resistant, for use in residential, commercial and infrastructure applications.”
Although X-Mat Carbon Core is currently located inside of the Bluefield Commercialization Station on Bluefield Avenue, the company has a goal of later expanding and building factories in the region for the purpose of manufacturing the coal-derived building materials.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., confirmed the local project earlier this month while touring the Mountain State with U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.
The company established a presence in Bluefield in 2018, according to Bill Easter, owner of the parent company, Dynamic Material Systems, based near Orlando, Fla.
Easter said the company has been working on developing building products from coal and coal waste in their Florida labs and wanted a facility in West Virginia to be close to the source of the material.
“We needed to make a demonstration actually using the coal and carbon-based materials,” Easter said, adding that he anticipates the company will have 15 to 20 workers on the project initially in Bluefield.
Most businesses that are located within the Bluefield Commercialization Station start-out small with the goal of expanding and eventually relocating to another permanent location within the city. The X-Mat project has the added benefit of the DOE backing, which helps in terms of the company’s eventual goal of expanding to a new manufacturing plant.
This is another exciting project for Bluefield, and a new opportunity to make use of the still abundant coal seams that can be found across the region.
See the article here.
- On April 5, 2022