North America's largest recycling project

FirstEnergy's recycling facility at the Bruce Mansfield Plant in Shippingport, Pennsylvania, turns a typically unusable by-product of the facility's scrubber system into commercial-grade gypsum used to produce wallboard. Launched in 1999, it's the single largest recycling project in North America.

(1) The Forced Oxidation Gypsum (FOG) Project begins at the production building
(2) where by-product from the Mansfield Plant (background)
is processed into gypsum, which is temporarily held in the storage building
(3) before it is sent by conveyor system
(4) to the National Gypsum Company plant.

The plant's scrubber system, which removes over 95 percent of the sulfur dioxide from the plant's emissions, works by spraying a liquid lime substance into the flue gas. The process creates a byproduct called calcium sulfite, which is normally disposed of in a landfill.

FirstEnergy developed a process that annually converts 450,000 tons of scrubber byproduct into commercial-grade gypsum, which then is used in a nearby factory to produce half a million tons of wallboard each year. That's enough drywall for 70,000 new homes. The National Gypsum Company built its $85-million drywall facility next to the Mansfield power plant specifically for this project. 

The recycling process is called Forced Oxidation Gypsum, or FOG. The FirstEnergy facility is the only one like it in the world. Once the calcium sulfite is transformed into gypsum, an enclosed conveyor belt transports it from the FOG plant across the street to the National Gypsum facility.

FirstEnergy, with help from the Dravo Lime Company, patented the process for producing commercial-grade gypsum from its calcium sulfite by injecting it with oxygen. After a decade of development and construction, the FOG plant is on the leading edge of environmental technology and overshadows any other recycling effort in the nation.

This technology benefits FirstEnergy in two ways: The Company generates additional revenue by selling the gypsum, and it reduces disposal costs. The National Gypsum Company benefits by buying a raw material at reduced costs and without shipping expenses. This process improves the environment by lowering the impact on landfills and reducing further need to mine gypsum from the earth.