The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced around $80 million (£62m) will be awarded for the development of electricity and hydrogen plants that have net zero carbon emissions.
The plants will be fuelled by coal, natural gas, biomass and waste plastics and will incorporate carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technologies.
The Coal FIRST energy plant concepts will be capable of flexible operation to meet the needs of the grid, use innovative components that improve efficiency and achieve net zero emissions.
The DOE says fossil fuels with CCUS are already and by far the lowest-cost source of low carbon hydrogen and gasification of coal and biomass with CCUS can be a large-scale source of carbon-negative hydrogen.
Plastic waste could also be added to the fuel mix, mitigating plastics waste in the environment.
The four selected projects will complete design development, host site evaluation and an environmental information volume, an investment case analysis and a system integration design study to advance the design of an engineering-scale prototype.