WorldWide Drilling Resource®

Researchers Demonstrate Unique REE Recovery Process Adapted from Information by the National Energy Technology Laboratory Researchers at the Ohio State University (OSU) are excited about the latest discovery of a method to deliver a supply of vital rare earth elements (REEs) from American resources. REEs are very important components used in everything from green energy applications and personal electronics, to defense technology and smart car systems. Right now, China controls the majority of the world market. The U.S. Department of Energy has been tasked with helping secure a domestic supply. The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has conducted research to demonstrate methods to extract REEs from the nation’s abundant supply of coal by-products such as acid mine drainage and fly ash generated at power generation facilities. OSU is refining the process even further. OSU researchers demonstrated a conceptual three-stage trap-extract- precipitate (TEP) process which can successfully extract REEs from coal mine drainage. The process relies on the use of environmentally benign industrial by-prod- ucts to trap REEs and an organic chelating agent to recover them from the mine drainage. This approach generates lower post-extraction waste and minimizes the associated environmental impacts when compared with other REE extraction techniques. Researchers have been working closely with several key stakeholders in the region, including those from the public sector. As work continues around the country to secure a domestic sup- ply of rare earth elements, the hope is the efforts of NETL and collab- orating organizations can lead to REE production from REE-enriched coal-based resources, which are estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of tons. This could lead to a new purpose for the country’s massive coal resources. ENV Dealmakers Congratulations to Mike Sullivan Well Drilling of Bolton, Massachusetts, on delivery of this 40K rig from GEFCO, Inc. in Enid, Oklahoma. GEFCO, Inc. Send your deals to: michele@ 31 WorldWide Drilling Resource ® JUNE 2020