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Alpha Natural Resources invests in green cement company

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Coal producer Alpha Natural Resources Inc. has invested in a company that repurposes fly ash from coal combustion into a “green cement.”

Abingdon-based Alpha Natural Resources said its investment equals a 10.3 percent equity in CERATECH Inc. (CTI), which is based in Alexandria. CTI creates a “green cement” that uses 95 percent of fly ash waste, a byproduct of coal combustion, from electric utilities. In addition, the cement production process generates no carbon dioxide emissions, according to Alpha.

The process also reduces the amount of ash being used in landfills. About three of every five tons of ash, or 42 million tons a year, end up in a landfill, according to Alpha. One ton of CTI’s cement diverts about 1,800 pounds of landfill waste.

Alpha has the option to increase its investment in CERATEC to 28.3 percent if certain criteria are met. Alpha did not disclose the amount of its initial investment.

“Alpha’s investment is an ideal fit within our larger sustainability investments strategy,” Michael Peelish, chief sustainability officer for Alpha, said in a statement. “We’re looking for ways to encourage development of new technologies that will bring sustainable environmental benefits to our utility customers. Conversion of waste fly ash into a green construction material represents an exceptional environmental use of coal combustion by-products.”

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