DOE grants Ohio University $2M to develop carbon-based materials from mining waste

DOE grants Ohio University $2M to develop carbon-based materials from mining waste

The university will develop advanced filaments for additive manufacturing and graphite for energy storage applications from mining wastes.

December 11, 2021

The Russ College of Engineering and Technology’s Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment (ISEE) at Ohio University has been awarded $2 million for two projects by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop advanced filaments for additive manufacturing and graphite for energy storage applications from mining wastes.

Industry partners will also provide an additional $419,048 of cost-share. According to the university, both projects support the goals of the United States government to transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2035.

“These awards build upon ISEE’s existing portfolio of innovative technologies to beneficially impact our society,” says Jason Trembly, Ph.D., Russ Professor of Mechanical Engineering and director of ISEE. “I am excited for the multi-disciplinary experiential learning opportunities the projects will provide our students to develop sustainable carbon-based materials for manufacturing, building, and energy applications.

“I am also very proud of the leadership shown by Yahya Al Majali, who as a graduate student developed an original research idea which was selected through a nationally competitive review process,” he adds.

Trembly will serve as the principal investigator on the first project, which aims to utilize mining wastes and byproducts to develop graphite materials. These graphite materials, which are largely imported into the U.S., would be used in lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). LIBs are used widely in everyday items but gaining significant importance in reducing carbon emissions from the transportation sector.

Domestic sourcing of natural graphite materials for LIBs has historically been challenging, resulting in reliance upon foreign sources. By utilizing mining wastes and byproducts to domestically produce graphite materials, researchers say the United States has a path to greater energy and materials security.

The second project selected by the DOE, to be headed by Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. candidate Al Majali, will use mining waste and convert it into 3D printable filament materials, aiming to create solid carbon structures. These materials can be used as a replacement for concrete in building and construction, tooling and casting materials for manufacturing, and alloys used in transportation and defense applications.