SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The University of Utah is launching a $1.6 million project to determine the feasibility of turning coal into carbon fiber, a material used in manufacturing of skis, cars and planes.
University chemical engineering professor Eric Eddings announced the effort on Wednesday, saying finding a new way to use coal would be both energy and economy friendly.
Demand for U.S. coal has dropped significantly in recent years as utilities move toward energy sources that don't emit as much carbon dioxide. Utah coal production dropped to 17 million tons in 2014.
The project is a partnership with the University of Kentucky and is backed by $790,000 in grants from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.