Potential agricultural uses of flue gas desulfurization gypsum in the northern great plains
Flue gas desulfurization gypsum (FGDG) is a byproduct from the combustion of coal for electrical energy production. Currently, FGDG is being produced by 15 electrical generating stations in Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. Much of this byproduct is used in the manufacturing of wallboard. The National Network for Use of FGDG in Agriculture was initiated to explore alternative uses of this byproduct. In the northern Great Plains (North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana), FGDG has the potential to be used as a Ca or S fertilizer, as an acid soil ameliorant, and for reclaiming or mitigating sodium-affected soils. Greater than 1.4 million Mg of FGDG could initially be used in these states for these purposes. Flue gas desulfurization gypsum can be an agriculturally important resource for helping to increase the usefulness of problem soils and to increase crop and rangeland production. Conducting beneficial use audits would increase the public awareness of this product and help identify to coal combustion electrical generating stations the agriculturally beneficial outlets for this byproduct.