Skip Navigation

ORAU manages independent review and grant administration for coal combustion product research

Coal plant chimney

With established expertise in ensuring the quality of scientific research through peer and merit reviews, ORAU is now broadening its experience to include the management of both independent pre-proposal review and “cradle to grave” grant management.

Recent coal ash spills in Tennessee and Pennsylvania have led to increased awareness of the need for innovative methods when dealing with the byproducts of coal combustion. In 2007, the coal-fueled electric power industry generated almost 72 million tons of fly ash and an additional 55 million tons of other coal combustion products (CCPs), according to data from the American Coal Ash Association. Nationwide, about 40 percent of CCP production is beneficially used in concrete and cement products, wallboard, highway construction and other applications.

To address this need for improved CCPs management and reuse, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) established a grant program to facilitate scientific research and the development of commercializable applications for topic areas related to CCPs. An entity was needed to manage an independent proposal review and grant administration for focus areas of interest. Because of its reputation in the realm of peer and merit reviews, ORAU was chosen for the job.

This solicitation for proposals was intended for basic and applied research on:

  • alternative ways to contain, handle and process CCPs
  • characterizing the properties of CCPs to enable more of them to be reused
  • the effects of coal fly ash releases into the environment

ORAU set up a research opportunity website to provide descriptions of the research areas of interest and other information needed by potential submitters would need, as well as a means to submit pre-proposals.

ORAU was also chosen to solicit commercial proposals for the beneficial reuse of CCPs under a second Request for Proposals (RFP) to garner technically sound and market-viable ideas for the use of CCPs in new products and processes as well as in conventional applications—beyond the basic research phase supported in the first RFP.

Total funding levels for proposals on the environmental effects of CCPs are $1 million per year for three years, with awards potentially ranging from $50,000 to $300,000 or more for one to three years.

Eligibility for the funding is open to colleges and universities, research institutions, private companies and qualified individual researchers.

The proposals with the highest technical merit will win the opportunity to explore ways to facilitate the scientifically sound development of new beneficial uses for CCPs and the creation of new environmental information. The knowledge will be useful not only to TVA, but also to the utility industry, regulators and the public.

More peer review success stories | Scientific peer review home