WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Fifty-eight percent of the coal ash produced during 2018 was recycled ? down from 64 percent in 2017, but marking the fourth consecutive year that more than half of the coal ash produced in the United States was beneficially used rather than disposed.
"As coal ash production declines, beneficial use markets are adopting new logistics and technology strategies to ensure these valuable resources remain available for safe and productive use," said Thomas H. Adams, executive director of the American Coal Ash Association ("ACAA") ? an organization that advances the environmentally responsible and technically sound use of coal ash as an alternative to disposal. "Closures of coal-fueled power plants are disrupting product distribution channels, but ash marketers are adapting quickly and enormous volumes of material remain available for beneficial use. We look forward to continuing to grow these practices that conserve natural resources, make products that are more durable, and dramatically reduce the need for landfills."
According to ACAA's just-released "Production and Use Survey," 59.4 million tons of coal combustion products were beneficially used in 2018 out of 102.3 million tons that were produced. The rate of ash utilization decreased from 64.4 percent to 58.1 percent and the total volume of material utilized decreased by 12.3 million tons. Coal ash production volume decreased 8 percent (or 9.1 million tons) from 2017 levels.
"Coal ash" is a generic term that encompasses several Coal Combustion Products (CCP) that can be beneficially used in a wide variety of applications. Highlights of CCP production and use in 2018 include:
"As America's electricity grid changes, the coal ash beneficial use industry is evolving as well," said Adams. "As we work diligently to utilize the 40 percent of coal combustion products that are still disposed annually, our industry is also taking significant strides in developing strategies for improving the quality and availability of these materials."
Adams explained that increasing beneficial use requires ash marketers to ensure that products are consistent and available when customers need them ? requiring large investments in technology and logistics. Additionally, the coal ash beneficial use industry is actively deploying technologies and strategies for harvesting coal ash materials that were previously disposed.
About Coal Ash Recycling
Coal is the fuel source for approximately one-third of electricity generation in America and produces large volumes of solid coal combustion products ? primarily ash and synthetic gypsum from emissions control devices.
There are many good reasons to view coal combustion products as a resource, rather than a waste. Recycling them conserves natural resources and saves energy. In many cases, products made with CCPs perform better than products made without it. For instance, coal fly ash makes concrete stronger and more durable. It also reduces the need to manufacture cement, resulting in significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions ? about 11 million tons in 2018 alone.
Major uses of coal combustion products include concrete, gypsum wallboard, blasting grit, roofing granules, and a variety of geotechnical and agricultural applications.
About ACAA's Production and Use Survey
The American Coal Ash Association has conducted a survey quantifying the production and use of coal combustion products in the United States each year since 1966. Data is compiled by directly surveying electric utilities and utilizing additional data produced by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The survey's results have been widely utilized by federal agencies including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Geological Survey.
Charts summarizing historical production and use data and a tabular version of the 2018 survey results are available on the ACAA website here:
American Coal Ash Association
Thomas H. Adams, Executive Director
Office: 720-870-7897 Mobile: 720-375-2998
SOURCE American Coal Ash Association
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