Coal ash product use in cement kiln feeds and concrete mixes approaches 18M tons

The American Coal Ash Association 2022 Production and Use Survey reflects 2021 data from coal-fired power stations, which yielded 77.3 million tons of ASTM C618 Class F or Class C ash and lesser grade coal combustion products (CCP), up from 69.1 million tons the prior year. When measured against prior year figures, 2021 saw:

  • Fly ash consumption in concrete reach 11.9 million tons, up 800,000 tons despite continuing supply limitations affecting certain markets;
  • Use of all CCPs in cement production climb 14 percent to 5.6 million tons; and,
  • Coal ash processors and marketers increase their total recycling rate for concrete, cement and other CCP end uses to 60 percent, a single point gain. 
Harvesting impounded ash for processing as cement kiln raw feed or to ASTM C618 performance spiked from 2020 to 2021.

The 2021 tally includes 4.5 million tons of CCP extracted from electricity generating station ponds or long-term impoundments, then processed for use as cement kiln raw feed or in concrete and gypsum panel production. “Harvested ash utilization volumes now equal nearly 10 percent of the ash recycled from current power plant operations,” affirms ACAA Executive Director Thomas Adams. “The rapidly increasing utilization of harvested coal combustion products shows that beneficial use markets are adapting to the decline in coal-fueled electricity generation in the United States. New logistics and technology strategies are being deployed to ensure these valuable resources remain available for safe and productive use. We must continue to support these practices that safely conserve natural resources while dramatically reducing the need for landfills.”

“As America’s electricity grid changes, coal ash beneficial use is evolving as well,” he continues. “As we work diligently to utilize the nearly half of CCP that are still disposed annually, our industry is also taking significant strides in developing strategies for improving the quality and availability of these materials.” Increasing CCP beneficial use levels, he adds, requires ash marketers to ensure that products are consistent and available when customers need them—necessitating large investments in technology and logistics.