A team of researchers from the Washington State University have created a sustainable alternative to the traditional concrete by making use of the coal fly ash, which is a waste product of coal-based electricity generation. The advancements in the Fly ash concrete field are expected to tackle two major environmental issues at once by making use of coal production waste and by substantially reducing the environmental impact of the concrete production.
The associate professor in WSU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Xianming Shi and Gang Xu, a graduate student have recently developed a durable and strong concrete that makes use of fly ash as a binder and then eliminates the use of environmentally intensive cement. The researchers have reported their work in the August issue of the Fuel Journal.
The production of the traditional concrete, which is made by the combination with sand, cement, and gravel that further contributes in between five to eight percent of the greenhouse gas emission across the globe. This is because of the fact that the key ingredient in concrete – cement, requires a huge amount of energy and high temperature for production.
Fly ash concrete, the material which is actually a residue after the coal dust is burned, has become a substantial waste management issue in the U.S. in the last few years. As per the researchers, more than 50% of the fly ash that ends up in landfills, which can easily leach into the environment nearby. Several researchers have made use of fly ash in concrete, which they have not been able to eliminate the heating methods that are traditionally required in order to make a strong material.