With more than $13 million invested in a public-private partnership at Louisville, Ky., a one-of-a-kind agricultural product development facility at the Mill Creek coal-fired electric generating station is on line to produce an innovative and beneficial use of coal combustion byproducts.

In November, at a groundbreaking event at Mill Creek, LG&E electric company 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 plant at Mill Creek 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, Charah representatives noted. 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, the company claims.

"Since 1980 because of the clean air investment by the utility industry in coal-fired generation, we have an astounding 83 percent 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,” said Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture James Comer.

Mill Creek currently produces nearly 600,000 tons of gypsum per year. The new facility will be at full capacity by 2014. That means more than 50 percent of Mill Creek’s gypsum “will be beneficially” in combination with the sulfur for the innovative ag product.