Holcim US, Geocycle Achieve Major Circular-Economy Milestone with CenterPoint Energy to Recycle 6 Million Tons of Power-Plant Coal Ash from Landfill
Chicago, IL, November 15, 2021 – Holcim US, its subsidiary, Geocycle, and CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CNP) today announced a major milestone in their multi-year initiative with the first barge shipment of power plant coal ash, part of a project which will result in the recovery and recycling of more than six million tons of coal ash for beneficial reuse in producing cement.
Holcim US, the nation’s largest cement producer, Geocycle, a provider of sustainable waste management solutions, and CenterPoint Energy, which operates two coal-fired generation plants in southwestern Indiana, invested on a combined basis over $80 million in infrastructure to remove, process, transport, store and recycle the coal ash produced at CenterPoint Energy’s A.B. Brown generating station in Evansville, Indiana, for use at Holcim’s flagship cement plant in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri—reducing the cement plant’s consumption of natural materials, such as clay and sand.
“This milestone is a tangible example of how industry participants together can develop creative and efficient solutions that contribute to the circular economy. Together, Holcim, Geocycle and CenterPoint Energy will avoid landfilling for power plants and reduce the consumption of non-renewable raw materials. This is a clear win-win for people and our planet,” said Toufic Tabbara, CEO, US Cement for Holcim in the US.
The teams recently achieved the first barge shipment of nearly 2,000 tons of the reclaimed material—containing mostly bottom ash with some fly ash—from the 165-acre pond at CenterPoint Energy’s A.B. Brown plant. Geocycle has managed the ongoing initiative between Holcim and CenterPoint Energy since 2009.
“Our multi-year initiative with Holcim and Geocycle has been the ideal solution as it has allowed for the material to be removed from the environment and used for beneficial purposes,” said Steve Greenley, Senior Vice President, Indiana Electric Operations for CenterPoint Energy. “CenterPoint Energy’s decision to recycle the coal ash has reduced the impact on the environment and allowed for a choice with less financial impact than other compliance options.”
Used as fuel for one-quarter of electricity generation in America, coal creates two kinds of combustion waste: fly ash and bottom ash, a sandy sludge. According to the American Coal Ash Association, only 52% of the 78.6 million tons of coal ash produced in electricity generation in 2019 was beneficially reused. The balance—37.6 million tons—was disposed of in landfills or retention ponds. There are more than 2 billion tons of landfilled ash in the US. To mitigate environmental risks, federal regulations are mandating the closure of ash ponds and encouraging the recycling of the materials to achieve environmental and economic benefits.
With careful material sourcing and testing, this initiative advances the treatment of ponded coal-ash material for beneficial reuse in the production of more environmentally friendly concrete mixes. This benefication technology, which included trials on CenterPoint Energy’s ponded coal ash, is being deployed in select markets that are experiencing fly-ash shortages due to the ongoing retirement of coal-fired power plants in the US.
“This significant circular-economy relationship with CenterPoint Energy is a powerful example of how our Geocycle recycling management business seeks out innovative solutions to turn our nation’s ecosystem challenges into opportunities that contribute value to our operations and advance our leadership commitment to a Net Zero future,” said Sophie Wu, Head of Geocycle North America.
Since 2009, Geocycle has managed the ongoing supply of nearly 1.5 million tons of dry fly-ash waste from CenterPoint Energy’s A.B. Brown, F.B. Culley and Warrick generating stations for beneficial reuse at the Ste. Genevieve cement plant. This barge shipment represents the next phase in the long-term collaborative relationship between the companies.
About CenterPoint Energy
As the only investor-owned electric and gas utility based in Texas, CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CNP) is an energy delivery company with electric transmission and distribution, power generation and natural gas distribution operations that serve more than 7 million metered customers in Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas. As of September 30, 2021, the company owned approximately $37 billion in assets and also owned 53.7 percent of the common units representing limited partner interests in Enable Midstream Partners, LP, a publicly traded master limited partnership that owns, operates and develops strategically located natural gas and crude oil infrastructure assets. With approximately 9,500 employees,CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 150 years. For more information, visit CenterPointEnergy.com.
Geocycle LLC, a US subsidiary of Holcim (US) Inc., is a part of the global Geocycle network, which represents over 80 waste pre-treatment facilities and over 180 cement plants with dedicated pre-processing and co-processing installations. Geocycle rethinks waste challenges to provide innovative ways to manage it. Our promise is clear: we work relentlessly to bring society a step closer to a zero-waste future. Geocycle applies the proven pre-processing and co-processing technologies to recover energy and recycle materials from waste, contributing to a regenerative, circular economy that closes resource cycles. Geocycle operates 20+ facilities across the United States, and its customers include many Fortune 500 companies. Last year, regardless of the challenges posed by the pandemic, Geocycle reduced the amount of waste going to landfills nation-wide significantly, which resulted in more than 280,000 tons of CO2 savings. This is an equivalent of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 60,754 passenger vehicles driven for one year
Holcim is the global leader in building materials and solutions and active in four business segments: Cement, Aggregates, Ready-Mix Concrete and Solutions & Products. Its ambition is to lead the industry in reducing carbon emissions and shifting towards low-carbon construction. With the strongest R&D organization in the industry, the company seeks to constantly introduce and promote high-quality and sustainable building materials and solutions to its customers worldwide - whether individual homebuilders or developers of major infrastructure projects. In the United States, Holcim companies include close to 350 sites in 43 states and employ 7,000 people. Our customers rely on us to help them design and build better communities with innovative solutions that deliver structural integrity and eco-efficiency.
About Prairie Research Institute
The University of Illinois' Prairie Research Institute applies scientific expertise in geology, ecology and biodiversity, archaeology, water, weather and climate, pollution prevention, hazardous waste management, and sustainable energy to benefit the people, economy, and environment of Illinois. www.prairie.illinois.edu/.