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What is Coal Ash?

Coal ash is chemically similar to clay, essentially calcined or fired clay which lends itself as a replacement for natural resources. There are three types of coal ash produced on the AEP System: fly ash, bottom ash and boiler slag. The type of ash available at each plant is dependent on the type of boiler.

Who Uses Coal Ash?

Since 1951, AEP has been a pioneer in many of the utilizations of coal ash in the construction of its own power plants. Dams, plant roads, stacks, cooling towers and even the company's 31-story headquarters building in Columbus have been constructed with the help of this versatile and plentiful material.

Governmental agencies have encouraged the utilization of coal ash. For instance, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued procurement guidelines specifying that fly ash be allowed as an option in all concrete purchased directly or indirectly with federal funds.

The Federal Highway Administration also specifies fly ash in all highway concrete pavements wherever it is economically and technically feasible.

Why Choose Coal Ash?

Coal ash offers a number of advantages. It is abundant, economical and versatile. In addition, the use of coal ash preserves natural resources, lowers rates and is supported by governmental agencies.

The environmental compatibility, abundance, availability and economy of coal ash translate into benefits for industry. Industries benefit through significant cost savings while not sacrificing product quality. In fact, the properties of ash are such that, in many applications, it improves the product. Cost savings are achieved by replacing expensive and vanishing natural resources with comparatively low-cost coal ash.

AEP: Innovation and Service

AEP is a recognized leader in the industry, with four decades of experience in ash utilization and research. A pioneer in ash marketing, AEP was instrumental in the formation of the American Coal Ash Association, the ash industry's trade association. Throughout the years, AEP has advised customers and other companies on ash utilization technology, providing the following services:

  • AEP's technical staff is prepared to answer questions on a variety of ash applications with expertise that comes from actual field experience.
  • AEP's marketing and technical staff is available to help customers incorporate the best coal ash for their needs at the greatest cost savings. AEP also conducts educational programs that are helpful to specifiers and customers.
  • AEP has the ability to supply a consistent coal ash from several sources in order to provide the best ash for each application at the lowest overall cost.

Product Quality

AEP is one of the few energy companies that control the production of its coal ash products. Only ash of the highest quality is dispensed to customers. Unsuitable ash is identified and diverted to disposal. This conscientious quality-control service provided by AEP is sought by many specifiers.

AEP also operates a complete Civil Engineering Laboratory that is CCRL* inspected, and that performs all physical tests in accordance with ASTM methods. The Civil Engineering Laboratory tests the performance of ash products in concrete and a variety of other applications.

In addition, AEP's Environmental Laboratory routinely provides complete chemical analyses of all coal ash products. These tests ensure that AEP coal ash is continually and accurately characterized. Customers can specify AEP coal ash products with confidence.

*Concrete and Cement Research Laboratory, a division of the U.S. Bureau of Standards.