We Energies

    We Energies
    Innovation: Sustainability practices for energy byproducts 

    Wisconsin has some of the most rigid environmental laws in the country. That means building, maintaining and operating landfills in the state is expensive.

    Milwaukee-based We Energies is committed to keeping its waste products out of landfills indefinitely, and serves as the industry-leading example when it comes to recycling and repurposing waste products from its facilities.

    “We have a choice as a company,” said Bruce Ramme, vice president of environmental at We Energies.

    Last year, the company provided more than 1 million tons of combustion products for beneficial use.

    Byproducts include fly ash, bottom ash and gypsum, which contain valuable mineral resources sought after by the construction and agriculture industries.

    Fly ash can be used to create a stronger, more durable concrete product. Bottom ash from the company’s power plants is used as a base layer below roads, parking lots and buildings.

    More than 50 percent of all concrete used in southeastern Wisconsin utilizes We Energies fly ash, Ramme said.
    In fact, We Energies coal combustion products have been used in the construction of the Milwaukee Art Museum, Miller Park, the Marquette Interchange and the I-94 rebuild between Wisconsin and Illinois.

    Gypsum, produced during the emissions control process, is sold to wallboard manufacturers and to farmers for use as a soil amendment. The company now recycles nearly 100 percent of its coal combustion byproducts, Ramme said.  The industry average is 45 percent, he said.

    Revenue and savings produced by not paying for landfill maintenance is passed on to We Energies customers, Ramme said.

    The company plans to continue research and development in the hopes of discovering even more ways its power plant byproducts can benefit the market.

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