Using digital mapping techniques to evaluate beneficiation potential in a coal ash pond

Mark A. Tyra, John G. Groppo, Thomas Robl, Tsevi Minster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Coal-fired power plants produce energy and many by-products (unburned carbon, fly ash, and bottom ash) that are normally stored in permitted ponds and landfills. When the storage facility fills to capacity, it is necessary to haul material off-site for disposal, construct a new storage facility, or find a use for some of the material. Because certain criteria must be met to successfully beneficiate the ash, mapping the ash reserve provides data that shows where the most promising recovery sites will be.The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) in conjunction with Western Kentucky Energy (WKE) and the US Department of Energy are constructing an ash beneficiation plant to recover high quality fuel and lightweight aggregate from the ash ponds at WKE's Coleman Station in Hawesville, KY. To determine the locations of the most productive areas, an extensive sampling and mapping project is underway. An amphibious ATV-mounted hydraulic drill has been employed to take core samples throughout the pond. These samples are then evaluated for particle size distribution, carbon content, chemical and leaching properties. With this information as well as each drill-hole's GPS coordinates and aerial photographs of the plant site, digital maps have been produced showing trends of deposition of material in the pond. Using a Geographical Information System to compile the data, the feasibility of removing ash for beneficial re-use can assessed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-268
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Coal Geology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - May 2003


  • Beneficiation
  • Coal ash
  • Fly ash
  • Ponds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geology
  • Economic Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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