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EPRI to study coal ash recycling

A truck hauls away excavated coal ash from Duke Energy’s Riverbend power plant near Charlotte.
A truck hauls away excavated coal ash from Duke Energy’s Riverbend power plant near Charlotte.

The Electric Power Research Institute will study coal ash recycling markets and technologies, Duke Energy said Thursday.

The study was required by North Carolina coal ash legislation that became law last year. It will be completed by mid-2016.

EPRI is an industry-supported research organization that has an office in Charlotte.

Interest in ash recycling rebounded when the Environmental Protection Agency ruled last December that it is not a hazardous waste.

Ash can be used to make products such as concrete, but Duke’s ash has high carbon content that limits its usefulness. Duke recycles about half the ash it produces, but much of that is used as “structural fill” to prepare building sites.

Duke is moving ash from its Asheville plant to the city airport, while ash from the retired Riverbend power plant west of Charlotte will be dumped in former clay mines in Chatham and Lee counties.

A report by the state’s new Coal Ash Management Commission exhorted Duke and policy makers last month to recycle more ash.

Duke is under state orders to close its 32 North Carolina ash ponds by 2029.

Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051, @bhender

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