Coal ash recycling rates hit record high

A small stamp adorns concrete work donated by Great River Energy.

Coal ash recycling across the United States has reached a record high according to the American Coal Ash Association (ACAA). Out of the 107.4 million tons of coal combustion products (CCPs) created, 60.2 million tons were recycled – 56 percent.

For the last several years, Great River Energy’s Coal Creek Station power plant has recycled 100 percent of the fly ash produced there. By recycling and putting ash to beneficial use, Great River Energy reduces landfill utilization and emissions.

“This year alone, Coal Creek Station produced over 400,000 tons of fly ash, of which 100 percent was recycled and used in concrete or for internal projects,” said Rachel Retterath, Great River Energy’s manager of business development and governmental affairs.

Great River Energy’s fly ash makes up approximately 3 percent of the product being recycled in today’s market.

“By using our fly ash in concrete, we can displace Portland cement, which emits approximately 1 ton of carbon dioxide per every ton produced,” Retterath said.

In addition to reducing environmental impacts, fly ash also creates a better, stronger and more durable concrete. Target Field and the new I-35 Bridge in Minneapolis are just a couple of the places that have utilized concrete containing Coal Creek Station fly ash.