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Georgia Power's beneficial reuse project at Plant Mitchell will turn stored coal ash into Portland cement

March 31, 2020

Georgia Power today announced a new beneficial reuse project for coal ash stored at Plant Mitchell, a retired coal-fired power station near Albany, Georgia. The project at Plant Mitchell marks the first time that stored ash from existing ash ponds at sites in Georgia will be excavated for beneficial reuse as part of an ash pond closure project.

“As part of our ash pond closure efforts, Georgia Power is always looking for opportunities to reuse coal ash that are beneficial for our customers and communities,” said Dr. Mark Berry, vice president of Environmental & Natural Resources for Georgia Power. “The coal ash beneficial reuse project at Plant Mitchell will save space in landfills and ultimately serve to help produce a valuable product.”

With the Plant Mitchell project, approximately two million tons of stored coal ash will be removed from the existing ash ponds for reuse in Portland cement manufacturing beginning this year.

Today, the company already recycles more than 85 percent of all ash and gypsum, including more than 95 percent of fly ash, it produces from current operations for various beneficial reuses such as concrete production as well as other construction products.

Coal ash has been demonstrated to provide significant value to certain products, such as concrete, in which it adds strength and durability. Opportunities for beneficial reuse of stored coal ash could help produce millions of tons of Portland Cement, concrete and other products, which would also reduce the need for raw materials otherwise used in production.

Plant Mitchell was retired in 2016 following approval by the Georgia Public Service Commission through the company’s 2016 Integrated Resource Plan. At completion of the project, the ash pond site will be restored as a useable property.

Beneficial Reuse Request for Proposal (RFP)
Earlier this year, Georgia Power announced it is seeking to identify opportunities for the beneficial reuse of coal ash stored at active and retired coal-fired power plants across the state. Georgia Power is reviewing responses to the RFP the company issued early this year. The next steps will be to issue the RFP details to qualified participants, likely to occur by the end of April, with the company continuing to explore additional beneficial reuse opportunities. 

Ash Beneficial Use Center
Georgia Power is partnering with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to open a research facility in 2020, the Ash Beneficial Use Center, to identify, test and speed the development of beneficial uses of coal ash. The facility will be located at Georgia Power’s Plant Bowen and will allow for pilot projects and testing of technologies to continue to increase the recycling and reuse of coal ash.

The research center will be a collaborative project with other electric power utilities through EPRI, an independent, non-profit organization with members in 35 countries, and the center will be available for research projects by EPRI, utilities, technology developers, and academia.