While many Americans were in isolation, X-MAT®, the Advanced Materials Division of Semplastics, has been working at a distance in the lab at the University of Central Florida on materials that could make homes safer and even power your phone.

Efforts to make stronger roof tiles out of Appalachian coal continue. Last year, Semplastics won a $1.5 million Department of Energy grant for coal-infused roof tiles. X-MAT®’s eco-friendly roofing tiles, the X-TILE™, are lightweight, fireproof and can withstand extreme temperatures.

X-MAT® Founder Bill Easter said the research team is making solid progress on the roof tiles. They are working with a team in West Virginia on bigger roof tiles that are more durable than traditional tiles. One day, these tiles could protect homes from fire, storms and even damage from the sun.

“We are on track to develop new prototypes that are impressive when compared to traditional roof systems made of clay.’’ Easter said. The long-term plan is to adapt the technology to create safe uses for coal and more jobs in the Appalachian region.

Easter will be presenting an update on the development of the roof tiles at the Pittsburgh Coal Conference in Pittsburgh taking place September 8 to 11 later this year.

In addition to the roof tiles, Easter is optimistic about a breakthrough combining coal with waste graphite as a power source. The company is working to prove the patent-pending X-MAT® coating technology can make recycled graphite and coal at least twice as powerful as new graphite.

“I know it sounds too good to be true, but we are continuing testing and the results are promising,” Easter said.

The Department of Energy has awarded a nearly $1 million contract to help fund the research for turning coal into batteries. This is the second major contract the DOE has awarded X-MAT® for developing new, cleaner ways to use coal.

Semplastics will keep you posted on further updates coming from the lab. The next blog will “pave the way” for road improvements.