Raising roads and buildings from recycled ashes

An £8 million plant in Fife which will recycle over 500,000 tonnes of power station ash a year when it reaches full capacity will help operating company ScotAsh boost its green credentials.

Working with ScottishPower and Lafarge Cement UK, the plant near Kincardine will recycle vast quantities of ash that would otherwise go to landfill into cement and concrete blocks.

ScotAsh claims the facility will avoid the Land Fill tax which is enforceable under the EU’s Land Fill Directive, saving millions of pounds a year.

The plant will recycle ash from ScottishPower’s coal-fired power stations – Longannet in Fife and Cockenzie in East Lothian – and turn the end product into pulverised fuel ash (PFA), captured before reaching the atmosphere by electrostatic precipitators, and furnace bottom ash, collected from below the boilers.

‘The ash is stored in four silos, which can contain 10,000 tonnes. They allow material to be stored and sold to construction companies throughout the year,’ said ScottishPower’s executive director Charles Berry. ‘About 300,000 tonnes of ash product will be used in the new Kincardine bypass for ground engineering work.’

Another important facility will be the benefaction plant which will enable unburnt coal to be separated from ash so material can be re-burnt in the power station.

Because the plant reduces the need to quarry virgin materials, ScotAsh claims the operation will save energy and CO2 emissions.

Support from the project has come from the Scottish Industrial Symbiosis Programme, a scheme that aims to improve resource efficiency and productivity in industry.

ScotAsh managing director, Dr Nigel Cooke said: ‘Cement products made from ash must contain less than 7 per cent carbon content. With the new recycling plant we are able to produce higher quality PFA containing under 3 per cent carbon content.’