A $9 million research project has been launched that aims to remove contaminants and convert coal ash into a commercially valuable concrete additive.

Researchers at the University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) are leading the research project with Louisville Gas and Electric’s Ghent Power Plant in Carroll County, cement company Cemex Corp, and the US Department of Energy also involved.

The project is funded with a $4.5 million Energy Department clean coal grant, $3.6 million from Cemex Corp and the remainder is coming from CAER. Cemex, has a license to use the technology to create replica plants.

This project will convert the coal ash into pozzolan, a saleable additive that enhances concrete performance, strength and durability. A demonstration plant is expected to be operational at the Ghent site in early 2008.