Headwaters bullish on long-term fly ash availability, consumption trends

Sources: Headwaters Inc., South Jordan, Utah; CP staff

Backed by findings from an American Coal Ash Association (ACAA) report on U.S. production and utilization of coal combustion products (CCP), the top marketer of ASTM C 618-grade fly ash foresees 20 years of supply chain stability—countering the perceived effect of present regulatory and energy market forces reshaping power utilities’ fuel profile.

Headwaters Construction Materials cites among ACAA report conclusions: “Coal will continue to account for a significant percentage of U.S. electric generation during the next two decades. As a result, CCP production is expected to remain steady, increasing by 5 percent through 2033.”

An American Road and Transportation Builders Association analysis informing the ACAA outlook weighs economic and political factors that have influenced CCP shipments over the last 40 years, and predicts material availability and demand for the next 20 years. It takes into account historic CCP data, coal-fueled utilities’ projected electric generation and economic growth, and cites ready mixed concrete as a primary fly ash market driver.

“The utilization rate of fly ash has grown from 8.4 percent of [CCP] production in 1974 to 43.7 percent in 2013, when 23.3 million tons were beneficially used,” ACAA reports. “Based on ready mixed concrete market projections, fly ash utilization is forecast to increase to 35.7 million tons in 2033—a 53 percent cumulative increase over the next two decades.”

“We are excited about the demand for fly ash and its increased use in ready mixed concrete to make more durable concrete structures, and agree with ACAA that the production of high quality fly ash over the next several decades will continue to provide us with a steady supply,” says Headwaters Construction Materials President Bill Gehrmann.