The combustion of coal to generate electric power is the single largest source of coal combustion residuals (CCR). Prior research and development (R&D) on coal combustion byproducts was carried out in the 1990s and through 2008 via DOE’s Innovations for Existing Plants Program. The current Emissions Control program will focus on addressing critical operational and environmental issue impacting the U.S. coal-based power generation sector. Specifically:

Advanced Concepts and Technologies to Increase the Beneficial Use of CCR

R&D developed in this area will advance technology applicable to increasing the beneficial utilization of CCR via:

  • Innovative technology and concepts to increase beneficial utilization: R&D will to be directed at (1) the fraction of coal combustion products that are not currently being recycled or beneficially reused at high levels such as non-gypsum, wet- and dry-FGD materials and bottom ash and/or (2) materials used in current CCR facilities that may be negatively impacted by new CCR regulations.
  • Innovations for improved cost and performance of CCR beneficiation/upgrading technologies: R&D to focus on improvements in the performance and cost of beneficiation/upgrading of technology associated with high-volume reuse materials (i.e., fly ash and synthetic gypsum).
  • Innovative technology and processes for utilizing CCR in storage impoundments: Advanced cost-effective approaches for removing, upgrading, and beneficially recycling CCR from active and inactive storage impoundments are sought.

Advanced Concepts and Technologies for Managing Inactive and Legacy CCR Impoundments

R&D developed in this area will advance technologies applicable to improving the management or closure of active and inactive CCR disposal sites. The following approaches being pursued are:

  • Innovative technologies, concepts, and processes for managing and/or closing-in-place inactive or legacy storage impoundments: Approaches that provide a cost-efficient and environmentally sound alternative to the physical removal of the material are of interest.  R&D is sought for innovative technologies, concepts, and processes to stabilize, neutralize, and/or encapsulate trace metals and other contaminants in unlined or inadequately lined inactive or legacy disposal sites.
  • Innovative technologies, concepts, and processes for CCR impoundment leachates: innovative concepts are sought that will treat leachates and related discharges from both active and inactive (legacy) unlined or inadequately lined CCR impoundments and ponds with a particular focus on arsenic and selenium. These treatment technologies should be relatively small and modular in design with the assumption that further development could allow them to be mobilized.

Theses technologies developed under the Emissions Control program will responsibly divert coal CCR towards beneficial reuse and improve the operation and management of existing and legacy CCR impoundments and will reduce the volume of CCR needed to be disposed of in impoundments while protecting the environment and the health and safety of the public.