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US Department of Energy invests US$2 million to find beneficial uses for coal combustion residuals

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World Coal,

The US Department of Energy (DOE) recently selected two projects to receive approximately US$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’.

The selected projects represent the first round of selections for this FOA. Applications are still being accepted for the second round of the FOA, which closes on 30 September 2020.

Coal combustion residuals (CCRs) consist primarily of fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, flue gas desulfurisation (FGD) gypsum and other FGD-solid by-products, from coal-fired power plants. Research and development efforts under this FOA aim to economically increase the beneficial use and management of CCRs, reducing the volume 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, both of which were selected from one area of interest (AOI) within the FOA to increase the beneficial use of CCR:

AOI 1: Advanced concepts and technologies to increase beneficial use of CCR

(1) Facilitating implementation of high-volume fly ash sse in precast concrete construction to increase beneficial utilisation – Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago, Illinois, USA) seeks to increase the beneficial use of freshly produced and weathered (landfilled or ponded) fly ash as a supplementary cementitious material (SCM) for precast concrete applications. The use of SCMs is often limited in precast construction, due to the demanding performance requirements of the concrete mix, specifically high early-strength development. This limitation will be mitigated by incorporating cost-effective, state-of-the-art material design and formulation technologies that increase the hydration rate, microstructure phase formation and strength development in next generation high-volume fly ash concretes.

DOE funding: US$995 360; non-DOE funding: US$249 093; Total value: US$1 244 453.

(2) High strength, encapsulated, commercially useful components and particles made from CCRs – Semplastics EHC LLC (Oviedo, Florida, USA) plans to develop and demonstrate high-volume applications for CCRs with annual usage on the order of billions of pounds. The CCRs will be encapsulated in a recently developed water-impervious inorganic resin coating to reduce leaching of toxic elements from CCRs by more than 80%. Target commercial applications for the encapsulated CCRs to be demonstrated in this project are as reinforcement for high-strength structural columns and as filler in high-volume plastics such as polypropylene.

DOE funding: US$998 585; non-DOE funding: US$409,000; Total value: US$1 407 585.

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