Coal ash waste converted into building materials to slash greenhouse gas emissions.

Earlier this month the University of New South Wales UNSW released details of an interesting use of ash waste that comes from coal-fired power stations into an environmentally useful product “which promises to slash emissions in the carbon-hungry construction sector by at least 20 per cent.”

UNSW reports that researchers at the university have converted the fine particulate pollution generated in coal furnaces, known as fly ash, into a new range of high-strength, lightweight building materials.

China will be the first to benefit from this innovation where the first 100% “made from waste” bricks, pavers and aggregates are coming into production there. This will be a significant use for the fly ash which up to now has contaminated the air and clogged waterways.

Inventor, Dr Obada Kayali, a senior lecturer in Civil Engineering at UNSW@ADFA (The Australian Defence Force Academy) has been quoted by the UNSW as saying that the consequences for the environment will be enormous.

“The big greenhouse gas emission savings lie firstly in reducing the volume of cement needed to make high strength concrete. The new lightweight fly ash aggregate, known as Flashag™, replaces quarried rocks such as blue metal and gravel which are usually mixed with cement to make concrete. Flashag™ is the world’s first fly ash aggregate to drastically reduce the volume of cement needed to achieve high strength concrete structures.The fly ash products pilot plant opened in the Chinese city of Hebi earlier this year, in a special zone for sustainable industrial technologies and large scale industrial recycling.

“My research was about finding a way to produce a lightweight aggregate from fly ash which used less cement – this is the big difference,” says Dr Kayali.”

The 100 per cent fly ash bricks and pavers, known as Flash Bricks™, are also about 20 per cent lighter and stronger than their clay counterparts. This means further emissions savings because less steel and shallower concrete foundations are needed for the same sized structures.

With the expected expansion of coal fired power stations in China, coupled with the boom in building and the high levels of pollution experienced in China, this use of fly ash will offer significant benefits to both the building industry and the environment.

UNSW’s commercial arm, NewSouth Innovations, is also negotiating to license the technology in Australia, India, Indonesia, the United States, and the Middle Eastern construction hubs of Dubai and Kuwait.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: The Labyrinth is a maze-like area in the McMurdo Dry Valleys that scientists say was created by an ancient flood.

The Labyrinth, McMurdo Dry Valleys.

Photograph by: Peter Rejcek, National Science Foundation. Date Taken: January 20, 2007.


~ by abstraktbiblos on Sunday, 18 May, 2008.

One Response to “Coal ash waste converted into building materials to slash greenhouse gas emissions.”

  1. It is good to utilize the fly ash for good purpose and it will eliminate the need of landfill.But Fly ash usually contain heavy metals.How you remove these heavy metals and is this technique cost effective or not

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