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Duke Energy recycling coal ash at Buck Steam power plant

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World Coal,

Duke Energy plans to remove coal ash from three basins at Buck Steam 369 MW formerly coal-fired electrical power plant, in Salisbury, North Carolina, US.

The company intends to then safely recycle the valuable material for concrete.

"This important step forward provides certainty for neighbours about our closure plans and allows us to recycle more coal ash to benefit our customers and North Carolina's economy," said David Fountain, Duke Energy's North Carolina President.

Coal ash is a non-hazardous material created when coal is burned to produce electricity. According to the company, recycling is the only way to avoid permanent disposal of the material. However, much of the ash stored in basins has too much carbon to be used in concrete products. To make coal ash more suitable for recycling, Duke Energy is making additional, significant investments in technology designed to reprocess coal ash from basins.

North Carolina's coal ash law encourages even more recycling and requires the company to install three recycling units across the state, making 900 000 or more tonnes of material available each year. In 2015, Duke Energy recycled nearly two-thirds of the ash produced across its states.

Duke’s recent announcement is ahead of state deadlines for announcing locations for recycling units. The locations for the second and third units are still being evaluated, and a decision is expected in the coming months. Following this, the company will work with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to acquire necessary permits and begin processing material.

Duke Energy's plan to remove and recycle ash at the Buck facility also addresses the issues in a federal citizen lawsuit brought by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC). Both Duke Energy and SELC will make the necessary court filings to dismiss that case.

"This is another important step forward on our path to advance ash basin closure at Buck and builds on our ongoing efforts to close all basins safely and responsibly," Fountain said.

?A recent evaluation conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) confirmed recycling ash for concrete as one of the most practical and proven uses of the material. The study examined well-established uses for ash, commercial beneficiation technologies and innovative technologies. It also helped identify locations for recycling units that are in close proximity to demand for the material, while also being compatible with the volume and type of ash at the sites.

More than half of the concrete produced in the US contains coal ash because it makes roads, bridges and buildings more durable. Some of the world's most iconic and sustainable structures were built using coal ash, including One World Trade Center in New York City.

For every tonne of coal ash used as a replacement for portland cement in concrete, approximately 1 tonne of greenhouse gas emissions is avoided.

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