Process Heat

Using nuclear energy to transform coal to carbon fiber
TerraPower and Ramaco Carbon project

Burning coal represents a low-value process and results in large emissions of CO2.

The primary use of coal is for combustion processes that drive electricity generation, steel production and cement manufacturing. TerraPower is demonstrating technology that can convert – rather than burn – this abundant U.S. resource into high-value products suitable for transportation fuels, chemical industry feedstock and even advanced materials like carbon fiber.

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TerraPower tested its unique coal conversion technology at its laboratory.

TerraPower has produced material from coal that is now being analyzed for use in the production of low-cost carbon fiber. The process operates at temperatures TerraPower’s Natrium™ and Molten Chloride Fast Reactor designs can achieve and illustrates one of the many ways nuclear power can be integrated into industry to avoid fossil fuel combustion.

DOE Announces Support for Project to Create High-Value Products from Coal

TerraPower developed a process that creates liquids to serve as a crude oil surrogate suitable for conventional refinery and chemical industry feedstock. This oil from coal is unique in that it carries heavier molecules suitable for creating advanced carbon materials.

This process naturally separates these heavy molecules from the coal oils.

TerraPower’s approach utilizes carbon dioxide in a Brayton-like cycle to effectively pyrolyze feedstock at large scale while minimizing or eliminating CO2 generation. Tests have been performed on hybrid poplar and a wide range of sub-bituminous and lignite coals with the goal of maximizing and recovering high value, non-BTU products such as fiber.

Coal stages

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