Nuclear venture targets coal-based carbon fiber

TerraPower lab
TerraPower, a venture co-founded by Bill Gates, conducts nuclear energy research at a 10,000-square-foot laboratory in Bellevue, Wash. (TerraPower Photo)

BELLEVUE, Wash. — TerraPower, the venture that’s working on next-generation nuclear reactors with backing from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, is now working on next-generation uses for coal as well.

The privately held company, based in Bellevue, is part of a team that’s receiving more than $1 million in federal funding to develop an emissions-free process to produce carbon fiber from coal.

The prime recipient of the funding is Ramaco Carbon — a coal resource, research and carbon manufacturing company based in Sheridan, Wyo. Ramaco focuses on developing high-value applications for coal that don’t involve its use in power plants.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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