WASHINGTON, DC — A team led by the University of Kentucky Research Foundation of Lexington, Ky., recently signed an agreement to begin work on a $9 million cost-shared project under the first round of the President’s 10-year, $2-billion Clean Coal Power Initiative.
The project will focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is just one of the goals of the Clean Coal Power Initiative, which is aimed at addressing the Nation’s increasing demand for electricity while at the same time providing a secure, low-cost energy source friendly to the environment. The project will be equally co-funded by the participants and the Energy Department.
The University of Kentucky Research Foundation, along with CEMEX USA and LG&E Energy Corporation, plan to build a near-commercial-scale facility called a coal utilization byproduct beneficiation plant on the grounds of the 2,200 megawatt Ghent Power Station in Ghent, Ky. The research team will demonstrate an advanced process to separate unburned carbon from power plant ash or ash ponds and recycle it for fuel. During the process, the ash is upgraded to produce pozzolan, a durable alternative to Portland cement. Other beneficial byproducts include aggregate concrete material, graded construction fill-sand, recycled carbon fuel, and a polymer filler for plastics.
The production of pozzolan reduces the manufacture of Portland cement, a significant generator of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Manufacturing Portland cement releases about 1 ton of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere per ton of cement produced. Estimates are that the pozzolan byproduct can replace up to 30 percent of the Portland cement used to make concrete.
The Energy Department’s award to the University of Kentucky Research Foundation is the fifth of six awards in round one of the Clean Coal Power Initiative. Together, the projects will resolve a number of environmental issues associated with the use of fossil fuels while providing high-efficiency, low-cost, electricity generating capacity for the future.