DTE pushes gypsum recycling at scrubber-equipped Monroe coal plant

DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE) said Nov. 6 that it is partnering with the Port of Monroe to bring new jobs to the area and grow the local economy through an agreement that will help DTE in its effort to recycle, market and transport gypsum, a bi-product produced by the scrubber-equipped Monroe Power Plant.

The partnership has created approximately 30 full time jobs with DRM, a Dundee, Michigan-based company that provides transportation and material handling services for the Port of Monroe. The port will build a 24,000-square-foot storage building on its property, allowing gypsum customers to have direct shipping access to the material year round.

“We have been seeking a partner who we could work with locally to recycle the hundreds of thousands of tons of gypsum the plant produces annually, and couldn’t be more pleased to work with Port of Monroe,” said Brian Rice, director at DTE’s Monroe Power Plant. “Local impact and community growth are extremely important to DTE, and this collaboration is just one example of how we are a force for growth in the communities in which we live and serve.”

The Port of Monroe represents the first and last mile of the transportation supply chain in the region, said Paul LaMarre, Port of Monroe Director. “With DTE Energy’s Monroe Power Plant serving as the Port’s largest cargo generator and one of the area’s primary economic drivers, our synergies are limitless. This agreement is just one example of collaborative opportunities and will ensure that a product produced within the Port also passes across our docks,” LaMarre said.

Gypsum is a bi-product produced by coal-fired Monroe plant’s flue gas desulfurization (FGD) system, which removes more than 90% of the plant’s SO2 emissions. Gypsum is used widely in the construction industry for producing drywall and in the production of cement. Recently, Midwestern farmers have found gypsum to be a valuable soil amendment, leading to more demand and a larger market for the product. In 2014, DTE recycled more than 350,000 tons of gypsum.

Monroe, one of the five largest coal plants in the country, is the only plant in Michigan operating an FGD system and producing gypsum, creating a unique opportunity for Michigan’s only port on Lake Erie. All four of the Monroe coal units have gotten FGDs installed over the last decade.

DTE Energy is a Detroit-based diversified energy company involved in the development and management of energy-related businesses and services nationwide. Its operating units include the regulated utility DTE Electric, the owner of the Monroe plant.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.