With more than $13 million invested in a public-private partnership to make Louisville the home of a new, one-of-a-kind agricultural product development facility at the Mill Creek Generating Station, LG&E and Kentucky Utilities (KU) and Charah, Inc., along with state and local officials, reiterated their commitment to innovative and beneficial use of coal combustion byproducts.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Rand Paul; Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer; House Majority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins; Victor A. Staffieri, chairman, CEO and president of LG&E and KU Energy and Charles Price, president and CEO of Charah, Inc. celebrated Earth Day with the grand opening of new one-of-a-kind beneficial use facility at the Mill Creek Generating Station.
The announcement follows a late November groundbreaking event at Mill Creek when LG&E officials announced that they would be spending approximately $940 million in clean coal technology at the station. All total, over the next five years, LG&E will invest approximately $6 billion in its system.
The Charah, Inc. SUL4R-PLUS Product Manufacturing Facility is the first facility of its type and represents a unique partnership between LG&E and Charah. This new facility will recover approximately 300,000 tons of gypsum annually to create a unique sulfur product that will be sold to and distributed by agricultural companies.
SUL4R-PLUS product, in its unique patent-pending pelletized form, will help meet the increasing demand for sulfur by the regional farming industry. While synthetic gypsum has been used in agriculture applications in the past, Charah is the first to pelletize the byproduct, making sulfur application easier for the farmer.
“Innovative projects like this show how coal has and will continue to be a major contributor to the economic vitality of Kentucky and of the U.S., not just in the energy sector, but in science and innovation and now agriculture,” McConnell said. “This first-of-its-kind facility will help improve our environment while creating 20 quality jobs in the process.”
“Since 1980 because of the clean air investment by the utility industry in coal-fired generation, we have an astounding 83% decrease in the amount of sulfur emitted into our air. Charah and LG&E’s approach with this project is simple: invest in clean air, but ensure our farmers have this vital nutrient for their crops,” Comer added.
“It’s exciting to have this ground-breaking facility in our Commonwealth and it demonstrates how innovation and collaboration can pay long-term dividends for Kentucky and the environment,” Adkins said.
“This pioneering facility is a perfect example of entrepreneurial success,” said Paul. “With coal being the largest source of electricity generation in Kentucky and worldwide, it is exciting to see this innovative project, which will expand the use of coal byproduct, benefiting our environment and creating jobs.”
Mill Creek currently produces nearly 600,000 tons of gypsum per year. At full capacity, more than 50% of Mill Creek’s gypsum will be beneficially used. The new facility will recycle byproducts to benefit the environment, provide lower costs to LG&E and KU customers and create an innovative agricultural product.
The facility is expected to create 20 new jobs when at full capacity by 2014.