Colorado Springs Utilities to recycle ash |

Colorado Springs Utilities to recycle ash

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado ” A deal for Colorado Springs Utilities to recycle waste from two power plants is expected to save the city on landfill costs and even draw extra revenue.

The city-owned utility has contracted with Separation Technologies LLC of Needham, Mass., to process 120,000 to 130,000 tons of fly ash produced per year by the city’s two coal-fired power plants. A utility spokeswoman was not available Sunday to comment on the cost of the contract.

Carbon can be filtered out of fly ash, a byproduct of burning coal, to make the ash usable as a substitute for cement in making concrete.

Separation Technologies plans to build a facility near the Nixon plant in the next year and will develop a market for the ash.

Utility officials hope to bring in up to $2 million annually in ash sales. Officials say the recycling effort also will save the city $620,000 in landfill costs.

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That is a tiny fraction of the $168 million the city spends generating power, but every bit helps, said Drew Rankin, general manager for energy supply.

“It’s our opportunity to take what’s been a waste stream and turn it from a liability into an asset,” Rankin said. “We’re converting it into a beneficial product.”

“For every ton of this ash we can use beneficially, that takes a ton less of rock a cement company has to burn coal to treat, and that reduces the carbon footprint,” Rankin said. “It’s really an overall global benefit.”

The city also hopes to peddle another coal byproduct called bottom ash to brick and cinderblock makers, which could save $27,250 in landfill and other costs and generate up to $10,000 in revenue annually.

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