New process collects high-value ash

Originally designed to solely produce electricity, Coal Creek Station is now integral to the production of several products as the center of an energy park.

Together with Boral Resources, Coal Creek Station is now processing Micron3, an ultrafine ash separated from the plant’s fly ash.

An employee of Boral Resources fills 25-pound sample bags of Micron3.

“This specialized product is used in high strength, low permeability concrete commonly used in bridge decks, parking structures, pilings ramp and even meets FAA specifications to be utilized in airport projects,” said Ryan Frank, project manager at Great River Energy.

To produce Micron3, Coal Creek Station fly ash is fed through a classifying system to separate the ultrafine particles. These particles, which have a median size between 2 and 4 microns, will be sold in bulk or bagged on-site while the larger fly ash particles will be fed back into the main fly ash storage areas for traditional sales.

“The market outlook is 4,000 to 6,000 tons per year which is a small fraction of fly ash produced at Coal Creek Station,” said Rachel Retterath, manager of business development and government affairs at Great River Energy. “In contrast, revenue for the product is significantly higher than regular fly ash.”

The Micron3 samples have been produced and sent for testing in market applications. It is anticipated that commercial sales will occur in time for the summer construction season.