“We are excited about the demand for fly ash and its increased use in ready mixed concrete to make more durable concrete structures,” says Bill Gehrmann, president, Headwaters Construction Materials.
“We agree with the ACAA [American Coal Ash Association] that the production of high quality fly ash over the next several decades will continue to provide us with a steady supply.”
The American Coal Ash Association’s recent findings on utilization of coal combustion products shows that demand for ready mixed concrete is a primary driver for fly ash utilization.
The American Coal Ash Association report stated, “The utilization rate of fly ash has grown from 8.4 percent of production in 1974 to 43.7 percent in 2013, when 23.3 million tons were beneficially used.”
It goes on to say, “Based on ready mixed concrete market projections, fly ash utilization is forecast to increase to 35.7 million tons in 2033 – a 53 percent cumulative increase over the next two decades.” Beneficial uses of fly ash include grout, mining applications, structural fill, stabilization of soils and wastes, cement raw feed, and the partial replacement of portland cement in concrete.
The report also predicts a steady supply of coal combustion products will be available due to anticipated growth in electricity demand. “Coal will continue to account for a significant percentage of U.S. electric generation during the next two decades. As a result, coal combustion products production is expected to remain steady, increasing by 5 percent through 2033. Fly ash production is forecast to reach 54.6 million tons in 2033.”
Along with the American Coal Ash Association report, the Portland Cement Association commented earlier this month that it was revising its earlier U.S. cement shipments forecast from an increase of 7 to 8 percent annually, beginning in 2015, to 3.5 percent in 2015, 5 percent in 2016, and 5.7 percent in 2017.
The Portland Cement Association’s chief economist, Ed Sullivan, stated that some of the reasons for the revisions were “Uneven regional construction activities, a slowdown in number of starts, and increased use of supplementary cementitious materials in concrete.”
The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act that was recently enacted is projected to increase cement consumption over the next five years, and should also positively impact the use of fly ash.