Eco Material outlines 18M-ton potential behind Georgia, N.D. ash harvests

Eco Material Technologies will add up to 600,000 tons to its annual concrete-grade fly ash shipments with construction of a facility for processing and beneficiating coal combustion material impounded at Georgia Power’s Plant Branch, a Putnam County, Ga. generating station the Atlanta-based utility retired in 2015. Using its ES EcoSystem Efficient Carbon Offloading (ECO) technology, South Jordan, Utah-based Eco Material stands to finish 8 million-plus tons of fly ash over the agreement’s 15-year horizon, the output primarily targeted to Georgia and Florida concrete customers. 

“Our partnership with Georgia Power through the Plant Branch project should be a model for the rest of the country on how to efficiently re-use stored coal ash in a way that positively benefits the construction industry, local communities and the environment,” says Eco Material CEO Grant Quasha. 

Eco Material will apply technology and best practices demonstrated at its charter ash harvesting site in Danville, Pa. (shown here) to the Plant Branch operation in Georgia.

“As concrete manufacturers continue to work to achieve carbon neutrality in production, and power companies seek modern and innovative solutions for beneficial use of coal ash, this voluntary project in Georgia directly respond[s] to both market and environmental needs,” adds American Coal Ash Association Executive Director Tom Adams. “With the nationwide focus on improving infrastructure, demand for materials continues to outpace available supply, and collaborative projects such as this will be critical to bridging that gap in the future.”

The Plant Branch processing and beneficiating facility is proceeding with assistance from the Putnam Development Authority, which has provided incentives to fast track construction on a 2024-2025 schedule. “Eco Material’s plan to work with Georgia Power to bring new, high-quality jobs and significant investment to our community represents a turning point toward reinvigorating the former Plant Branch site as an economic driver for our community,” affirms Authority Chairman Walter C. Rocker III. 

The project will be Eco Material’s second fly ash harvesting operation with Georgia Power, following last year’s announcement of a processing and beneficiating line on track for 2024 start up at Plant Bowen in Bartow County, Ga., northwest of Atlanta. The Plant Bowen plan calls for annual output up to 600,000 tons of fly ash from a deposit estimated at 9 million tons. The ECO technology for both sites offers a green, economical process to reduce high carbon content in landfilled and ponded coal ash—bringing it up to required specification for use in concrete and other building materials. 

The Georgia plants join sister Pennsylvania and Texas sites where Eco Material has proved its harvested ash processing and beneficiating acumen. The ECO technology-equipped facilities add to the company’s portfolio of novel supplementary cementitious material projects that include natural pozzolan beneficiation plus branded Green Cement production. Once the Branch project is complete, Eco Material will have over 3 million tons per annum of novel, beneficiated SCMs to help decarbonize the North American concrete market.

Eco Material Technologies and Bismarck, N.D.-based Rainbow Energy Center will invest in harvesting and beneficiation plants at the utility’s Coal Creek Station, transforming impounded bottom ash materials to construction-grade fly ash and gypsum. North Dakota’s first of their kind and Eco Material’s second such investments, the plants will have projected annual yields of a) 400,000 tons of supplementary cementitious materials over the next 25 years for North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin concrete markets; and, b) up to 150,000 tons of calcium sulfite, or synthetic gypsum, for wallboard production. The harvesting and beneficiation project extends a partnership under which Eco Material markets upwards of 500,000 tons of dry fly ash per year from the facility’s present power generation. 

“This project marks a key turning point in the SCM market for the region. We expect demand for high-quality, sustainable cementitious materials like fly ash and pozzolans to grow rapidly over the next 10 years,” says Grant Quasha. “This project is the culmination of a relationship between Eco Material and Coal Creek Station on fly ash beneficial use for over 30 years, and that partnership has only grown since Rainbow’s purchase of the facility.”

“Our vision for Coal Creek Station remains the same today as the day we developed the business plan for the facility. Our number-one priority will always be to continue to operate it in the most efficient and environmentally sound way possible,” adds Rainbow President Stacy Tschider. “The expanded partnership with Eco Material Technologies enhances the execution of our vision by reducing carbon emissions and our environmental impact while continuing to provide valuable baseload energy to the market.”