Dan Brouillette

Dan Brouillette

A process to extract valuable metals from coal waste illustrates how Concurrent Technologies Corp. is applying its expertise to the energy industry, a national leader said Thursday.

“CTC is a phenomenal facility for us,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette said at the company’s environmental technology facility, 128 Industrial Park Road in Richland Township.

“What they do here will power much of our energy future, as well as much of our national defense future.”

The $150,000 contract to develop a process to extract rare earth elements from coal fly ash and other waste was awarded to CTC earlier this month by the Department of Energy. The elements are used in electronic components from cellphones to energy storage facilities. 

Brouillette said the Johnstown company is also helping answer pollution concerns associated with the natural gas industry’s fracking operation, which has become an issue in the presidential campaign.

Technology such as CTC’s water treatment using low energy methods to remove certain chemicals from fracking operations helps expand energy production while protecting the environment.

“(The chemicals) can be removed with technology being developed right here at CTC,” Brouillette said. “This type of research and development we do at the DOE in concert with companies like CTC here in Johnstown, Pa., that makes this (fracking) technology ultra safe.”

Natural gas produces lower emissions than coal or oil, helping the country reduce its carbon emissions by 14% while expanding its economy by 17% over the past decade, he said.

Brouillette stressed that President Donald Trump’s energy policy includes “all of the above.”

He listed coal, oil, natural gas and renewable energy.

“As we develop all forms of energy, we become more energy independent and less dependent on nations that have other interests in mind,” he said. “All of these forms of energy have bright futures because of companies like CTC who will help us advance that technology forward.”

CTC President and CEO Edward Sheehan Jr. said the visit by Brouillette and Rita Baranwal, assistant secretary for the office of nuclear energy, gave company leaders a chance to not only show off the local projects, but look for opportunities to apply solutions.

“It is a great showcase for the Johnstown workforce, as well as the Pennsylvania workforce,” Sheehan said.

Randy Griffith is a multimedia reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5057. Follow him on Twitter @PhotoGriffer57.

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