By Kevin Knapp
May 2, 2019 - Ramaco Carbon CEO Randall Atkins was recently elected vice chair of the National Coal Council (NCC) for the remainder of the year and chair-elect for 2020. Atkins was originally appointed to the NCC by U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in 2017.
Established in 1984, the NCC is a Federal Advisory Committee that provides recommendations to the U.S. Secretary of Energy on policy matters relating to coal and the coal industry.
“In the years to come, the NCC will have an opportunity to contribute to the dialogue on how best to value and use our nation’s abundant and affordable coal resources in traditional and new markets,” said Janet Gellici, chief executive of the NCC, in a press release. “The leadership and guidance of Randy Atkins during this time will be vital to these efforts.”
“I am honored to serve with my colleagues on the National Coal Council, and provide counsel to Secretary of Energy Perry, particularly at such a pivotal and potentially exciting time for the industry,” said Atkins. “This organization does vital work providing information, policy analysis, and industry recommendations that the Secretary of Energy needs to ensure a strong future for American coal. There is much far-reaching work to be done, and I look forward to helping the Council and the Secretary however I can.”
In July 2018, Atkins testified in Washington, D.C., before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Natural Resource Committee on the same subject.
Atkins also chairs a task force currently drafting a report for Secretary Perry on advanced uses for coal, including manufacturing of many forms of carbon products and materials. The report is titled “Coal in a New Carbon Age: Powering a Wave of Innovation in Advanced Products and Manufacturing,” and is scheduled to be delivered to Perry in June.
“Coal today is thought of as a cheap fuel to use in power plants,” Atkins said. “We ask, ‘what if coal were too valuable to burn?’ At Ramaco Carbon, we believe that recent developments in advanced materials and manufacturing technologies, combined with innovative new research sponsored by the department of energy and national labs, will soon get us to this point.”
Construction on the first phase of Ramaco’s iCAM research park is now underway. The park will host researchers from national laboratories, universities, private research groups, and strategic manufacturing organizations to conduct applied research and development with one goal: to use the carbon found in coal to create advanced carbon-based manufactured products.