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U.S. Department of Energy Selects Additional Projects Seeking Beneficial Uses for Coal Combustion Residuals

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected two projects to receive approximately $2 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development. The projects will improve coal combustion residuals management under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002190, Research for Innovative Emission Reduction Technologies Related to Coal Combustion Residuals.

DOE selected two projects in July 2020 under the first round of selections. The selected projects announced today represent the second round of selections for this FOA.

Coal combustion residuals (CCRs) consist primarily of fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, flue gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum, and other FGD-solid by-products, as well as fluidized bed combustor ash from pulverized coal-fired power plants and other combustion-based coal power plants. CCRs constitute one the largest classes of industrial byproducts generated in the United States. R&D under this FOA aims to economically increase the beneficial use and advance the management of CCRs, thereby reducing the volume of CCRs needed to be disposed of in impoundments while protecting the environment and the health and safety of the public.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the projects, which fall under one area of interest (AOI):

AOI 1: Advanced Concepts and Technologies to Increase Beneficial Use of CCR

  1. Beneficial Use of Harvested Ponded Fly Ash and Landfilled FGD (Flue Gas Desulfurization) Materials for High-Volume Surface Mine Reclamation — The Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio) intends to focus on the viability of beneficial use of harvested CCRs, especially ponded fly ash and landfilled FGD by-products (stabilized sulfite FGD material and FGD gypsum) in the vicinity of coal ash pond facilities and FGD landfills. These may be utilized in the high-volume reclamation of abandoned surface coal mine sites across the eastern and midwestern coal mining regions of the United States. The proposed project is designed to demonstrate the laboratory- and bench-scale testing and construction methods that can be applied to a wide variety of U.S. ash ponds, closed FGD landfills, and abandoned coal mine sites. The project seeks to reduce byproduct liability and disposal costs for coal-fired utilities in a manner that is economically viable and beneficial to the environment, public health and safety and to the utilities. DOE Funding: $999,872; Non-DOE Funding: $274,124; Total Value: $1,273,996

  2. Surface Modified Fly Ash for Value Added Products (SuMo Fly Ash) — University of Illinois (Champaign, Illinois) plans to develop a technology to encapsulate coal fly ash particles in sulfurized vegetable oil, enhancing physical and mechanical properties of the fly ash as a filler material when applied in commercial products. This project is expected to significantly advance the knowledge base and technology for synthesizing coated fly ash particles for application in different polymer matrices to increase cross-linking, compatibility, air-entrainment and decrease the leaching potential of metals of concern. DOE Funding: $983,814; Non-DOE Funding: $250,201; Total Value: $1,234,015

The Office of Fossil Energy funds research and development projects to reduce the risk and cost of advanced fossil energy technologies and further the sustainable use of the Nation’s fossil resources. To learn more about the programs within the Office of Fossil Energy, visit the Office of Fossil Energy website or sign up for FE news announcements. More information about the National Energy Technology Laboratory is available on the NETL website.