Onetime waste product now valuable building material

Posted February 9, 2017

Re-Posted from Great River Energy Blog:


A product that once was disposed of in a landfill is now helping produce stronger concrete for roads, bridges and commercial constructions projects, as well as generating revenue for Great River Energy’s member cooperatives. Known as “fly ash,” this fine powder has numerous applications, and Great River Energy’s power plants produce some of the best in the nation.

Fly ash produced at the Coal Creek Station power plant in Underwood, N.D., has a reputation as a high-quality building product. It is categorized as class F fly ash due to the type of coal burned to produce it and how it is handled after it is removed from the boiler.

The product is primarily used in ready-mixed concrete for roads, such as the Interstate Highway System and buildings in the Upper Midwest. In Minneapolis alone, Coal Creek Station fly ash has been used in the new Minnesota Vikings stadium, Target Field, the Interstate 35 bridge and the Highway 62 “Crosstown” reconstruction project.

Since Coal Creek Station began marketing fly ash in 2005, it has sold approximately 6.4 million tons. Today, the plant markets 440,000 tons of fly ash annually.

Great River Energy’s Stanton Station produces a “class C” fly ash for use as a soil stabilizer. A bulk of that fly ash is sold in cubic-yard bags and utilized in the oil industry in western North Dakota to stabilize drilling muds and fluids. The Stanton, N.D.-based power plant also has a blending facility at which lime is blended with ash.

In 2014, Great River Energy generated about $4 million in revenue from fly ash sales. That’s on top of $4 million of costs Great River Energy avoided by not landfilling that fly ash.