- At the Winyah Generating Station in Georgetown, SC, utility company Santee Cooper is selling coal ash to an on-site recycling company that transforms it into a usable material for concrete. The recycling, done by SEFA Group, uses a Staged Turbulent Air Reactor process to recycle the ash.
- With about 130 million tons of coal ash being produced by utilities each year, this ash recycling process contrasts the alternative of sending the ash waste to a landfill. SEFA Group also has recycling plants in Lexington, SC and Newburg, MD.
- Due to the U.S. EPA's decision to qualify the waste as a nonhazardous substance, some landfills are seeing new revenue from deposits of coal ash. Yet, due to challenges with landfill space and the need for ash to make concrete, the recycling done by Santee Cooper is a "great solution," according to Nick Torrey, a staff attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Firm in Chapel Hill, NC.
"The technology curve for recycling coal ash, rather than treating it as rubbish, is in its infancy," said The North Carolina Coal Ash Management Commission staff in a June report. “Only in recent years have the potential dangers of impounding coal ash received widespread attention, leading to heightened academic and industry research efforts on beneficial use.”
Due to the high price of the ash recycling plant — which cost $50 million — it is hard to determine if coal ash recycling will become a popular practice industry-wide. Yet the ability to save landfill space as well as reuse the ash to create sturdy concrete mark two of many benefits to the recycling efforts done by SEFA group.