White House weighs ‘alternative uses’ for coal beyond utilities

The Trump administration is seeking alternative uses for coal as it acknowledges its use in generating electricity is declining.

The Energy Department is exploring if critical minerals or rare earth elements -- used in such technology as battery storage -- can be extracted from coal, or coal ash residue, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said Friday in a speech at the think tank Atlantic Council.

Battery storage can help bring more renewables on line, he said. Other options include exporting it to other nations where demand remains strong and developing technologies that allow to burn more cleanly, such as carbon capture.