Sino Australia Coal Combustion Products (SACCP) Exchange: November 19-26

Brisbane & Sydney, November 19-26

On the heels of a successful Coal Ash Asia event this past September in Shuozhou City, AsianCAA will be bringing a delegation of Chinese researchers and companies to Australia for a formal academic and commercial exchange.

The itinerary (see below) consists of a multiplatform approach to coal ash utilization in Australia. A couple goals of our tour will be to focus on sustainable design and management strategies in the construction sector and current research projects and initiatives at UNSW. UNSW Built Environment has a close relationship with the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living based at UNSW. The CRC supports end user-driven research collaborations to address the major challenge of climate change facing Australia. UNSW Built Environment researchers are involved in CRC programs dedicated to integrated building systems and engaged communities.

The Centre for Built Infrastructure Research (CBIR) is a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the faculties of Engineering, Science and Design, Architecture and Building. CBIR's nationally and internationally renowned work focuses on finding solutions to important global problems in building structures, materials, design, management, improvement, safety and conservation.

Our commercial exchange is backed by companies who are operational and technical leaders in the coal combustion products industry. Millmerran Flyash Pty Ltd is an independent processor and marketer of coal combustion products, operating out of the Millmerran power station in South East Queensland. Utilising supercritical boiler technology and low NOx burners.

Wagners CFT Manufacturing Pty Ltd have developed and commercialised a new innovative geopolymer concrete named Earth Friendly Concrete (EFC), that offers customers unique durability performance and the highest level of sustainability of any concrete available in the world today.

Cement Australia has a production capacity of over 3 million tonnes annually. Operations range from the mining of raw materials to the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of a diverse range of high performance cements and cement related products.

Adbri Masonry manufactures and supplies a range of products to the building, construction, infrastructure and mineral processing markets throughout Australia. The company’s principal activities include the production, importation and distribution of clinker, cement, industrial lime, premixed concrete, aggregates and concrete products.

To join our delegation or our itinerary of companies/institutes, please email our communications coordinator, Sonya Laing: [email protected].

Early Bird Rates End July 1st! Register Now for Asian Coal Ash Association’s 6th Annual Coal Ash Asia Event

The Asian Coal Ash Association in collaboration with ITIBMI (Institute for Technical Information for the Building Materials Industry is under way with planning Coal Ash Asia, 2016, from September 23-26. New components at this year’s event will be an international panel discussion as well as an interview component, led by government, commercial and academic leaders of interest.

Based on the success of last year the association is offering our international delegates a unique experience at our event with complimentary business matching services. Attendees will be able to request meetings with individuals/organisations of interest and receive complimentary translation services during the course of the event.

This will be the association’s sixth year hosting and third year in Shuozhou City, Shanxi Province, with next year’s event to be held in Baotou, Inner Mongolia.  Government support from the Shuozhou government has made them a key participant and contributor to CAA events. Shuozhou city is home to one of China’s most prominent industrial parks, with currently twelve operations functioning in the industrial solid waste utilization sector.

Other activities of note include visiting a 1000 year old Pagoda, traveling on a 300km/hour high speed train to visit the city of Taiyuan (China's coal industry capital) and enjoying multiple cocktail hours and networking opportunities.

International guests are welcome to participate as oral presenters and exhibitors or by way of submitting academic research new product overviews to our poster exhibition and building materials journal. Register before July 1st and receive a discounted rate of $1500 (regular $1950).

Center for Applied Energy Research: Lower Carbon Footprint with Coal Ash By-Product

The University of Kentucky’s Center for Applied Energy Research, in collaboration with the College of Material Science and Engineering in Nanjing and the Asian Coal Ash Association, have published a paper in response to a collection of twenty coal ash samples from Shanxi Province, China.

The chemistry of this ash showed that the ingredients showed high amounts of sulfate and alumina. This specific concentration of material is optimal for highly durable cement aggregates. The ash was collected from the Shentou Power plant in Shouzhou city, Shanxi Province China, where the Asian Coal Ash Association hosts its annual Coal Ash Asia conference.

The presence of these materials not only allows for stronger cement than regular Portland, but for a lower carbon footprint during production and application. Please feel free to download " Coal Ash By-Product from Shanxi Province, China, for the production of Portland-Calcium Sulfoaluminate" learn more about this research.

Coal Ash Waste Increases in Viet Nam

HA NOI (Viet Nam) - Evidence shows that although coal waste from thermal power plants in Viet Nam has increased, the country still hasn’t made any meaningful movement towards utilization or industry reform. With density of 45 tonnes per square kilometer of cinder and coal ash, Viet Nam ranks at the top of the list in landfilling of coal ash, just below China. 

Further studies show that Viet Nam currently has approximately twenty coal fired power plants who contribute to the current fifteen million tonnes of ash that is being discharged annually. This number is expected to double in less than ten years. 

Recent measures to address this matter include a formal request from the Prime Minister to implement coal and ash treatment equipment in all plants, and to bring into operation by 2020. The follow up to this request was to be an undertaking by the Ministry of Construction, to work with industry organizations to create standards and regulations for this transition. Neither standards for managing this change nor incentivization for companies switching to green waste management practices has been issued. 

Among the many disappointed with current practices for fly and coal ash management is current deputy head at Binh Thuan Province’s Department of Science Technology, Nguyen Van Nhon. Mr. Van Nhon condemns the current method of burying the waste of thermal power plants, as it not only negatively affect’s the land and water quality, but is considerably wasteful considering the demand for these ashes in parts of the world not too far from Viet Nam’s borders. 

Winh Tan 2 plant in Binh Thuan is notably under scrutiny for its practices this year, taking no efforts to change their practices even after large groups protesting their plants and a formal charge of 66,000 USD from the government. 

Industry and academic leaders are calling for immediate action regarding the lack of change in coal-fired power plants’ waste management. Industry changes require cooperation from all sides in order to be effective, as witnessed in the smokestack industries of China, India and the USA. The first step is to create preferential policies for waste treatment measures adopted by power plants. Secondly, the government needs to strengthen inspection protocols and reprimand companies that violate the Prime Minister’s new waste management reform. These steps will hopefully encourage the functioning power plants to find interested buyers of fly ash and reduce the exploitation of Viet Nam’s natural resources.

India, Institute for Solid Waste Management and Ecological Balance: Fly Ash used in higher performance and energy efficient road construction

Nellore, India - November 29, 2015
Springtime brings flooding to many parts of southern India. Roads made of tar or bitumen are commonly subjected to this flooding, especially near water causeways, as has happened recently between Nellore and Tada. In road construction, cement concrete is superior but is an expensive alternative and therefore cannot be implemented widely. Road construction companies are now experiencing an industry wide change to address this issue. Coal fly ash aggregates are being implemented to improve the quality of roads with increased maneuverability and cost efficiency.

The Institute for Solid Waste Management and Ecological Balance, among other institutes of it’s kind, widely advocate for the utilization of fly ash for road construction. Due to several of its physical and chemical properties, fly ash makes a choice material for road construction. During construction, it settles less than 1%. When properly compacted, fly ash does not exhibit any long-term settlement issues and can be compacted easily while utilizing sufficiently less water than its industry alternatives. With the use of regular construction equipment, it can be mixed with lime to spread along soil providing significant strength unmatched by its competitors.

Its hardening property is useful for road embankment/pavement construction necessary to reduce pressure on retaining walls. When used as filler, expansive properties of soil can be reduced considerably. It stabilizes well with lime and cement, facilitating its use as filler material. The high permeability factor of fly ash eases free drainage during rainfall and afterwards.

Fly ash provides a cost-effective solution, saving approximately 75% of costs. Its use in construction leads to numerous environmental benefits. Notably it helps with the disposal of fly ash, generally viewed as a waste material. And of course, it reduces fossil fuel burning that otherwise would have needed for producing more cement and other road construction materials. 

Industry Highlights China's Growing Coal Ash Problem

By Michael Standaert

Oct 1st — If you know where to look and what to look for, zooming in on nearly any coal-fired power plant in China from a Google Earth satellite image will yield stark images of leftover residuals from coal combustion piling high in landfills near the facilities.

Up to 1.5 billion metric tons of coal ash—mostly from the bottom ash that falls down after coal is burned, or fly ashthat is captured in the stacks as the particulate matter rises with the heat and later scrubbed out—is stockpiled in China, making it the country's No. 1 industrial solid waste by volume.

“There is a very unique situation with coal ash in China, and unique solutions need to be customized to the problem,” said David Harris, chairman of the Asian Coal Ash Association.

Of the nearly 600 million metric tons generated annually in the country, 30 percent to 40 percent end up in landfills, while the rest is utilized as a component for cement, concrete and building materials such as bricks, fuel for the building boom continuing in the more prosperous eastern part of the country.

By comparison, the U.S. generated around 110 million metric tons of coal ash in 2012.

There are no comprehensive national regulations in China regarding the storage of coal ash that requires bottom lining of landfills to prevent potentially toxic heavy metals from leaching into nearby fields or into groundwater sources, nor are there requirements to cap or cover the ash to prevent blowing dust from getting into the atmosphere.

Some estimates in China show that around 20 percent of the small particulate matter (PM-2.5) in the atmosphere—the particles most damaging to the lungs—is from coal ash blown off of landfills, contributing to air pollution in major northern cities such as Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai.

The U.S. has regulations to ensure the structural stability of coal ash landfills and to protect groundwater after a number of recent incidents of coal ash spills, including the 2014 Dan River spill from a Duke Energy Facility near Eden, N.C.

Satellite Images

At a coffee shop in the south China city of Shenzhen, where the Asian Coal Ash Association is based, Harris shows Bloomberg BNA satellite images of some of sites, highlighting a coastal area on the west side of Qinzhou Bay, where a facility supplying power to the Guangxi-Zhuang autonomous region sits.

Images seem to show that coal ash is spreading into nearby fields, and Harris said coal ash also is being dumped into the ocean for coastal reclamation for eventual development.

About 1,500 miles due north in Shuozhou, Shanxi province is the heart of the country's coal belt and a region often shrouded in severe air pollution. There, the local municipal government and coal power industry are attempting to change the image of the area and industry, which Greenpeace targeted in a 2010 campaign.

At the time, the environmental group released damaging images of issues at 14 coal power facilities in the area, including coal ash dust blowing off massive landfills.

New Uses

At an annual Asian Coal Ash Association conference from Sept. 22–24 in Shuozhou, Wang Anpang, party secretary of Shuozhou, said the municipality is promoting the utilization of coal ash.

It is establishing three industrial solid waste demonstration clusters with around 50 businesses to pilot techniques for using coal ash, which range from steamed bricks to processing ultrafine fly ash with higher mineral contents that can be used in a variety of industries.

Site Bloomberg BNA visited after the conference showed some of the companies using the ash for bricks and for a stucco material sprayed onto walls.

Ci Yuansheng, an expert on coal ash at the Institute of Technical Information for the Building Materials Industry of China, said about 44 percent of the coal ash being used goes toward making cement, with 28 percent for building materials and 16 percent for concrete.

“This coal ash waste brings a lot of possible environmental risk but also a potential resource,” said Chen Guanhu, vice director of the Shanxi Economic and Information Commission.

Chen said it was not a provincial policy to reduce coal ash waste and to promote its use, but the “low value added and low tech content,” as well as the “small market size” for the companies using the materials, mean that “it is not as widely used around China as it could be. We need more technological innovation to improve the use.”

‘Made in China.'

A national policy to modernize manufacturing called Made in China 2025 that the State Council launched in May could spur further utilization of coal ash, as recycling resources and industrial solid waste were mentioned in the documents, said Li Li, deputy director of the Energy Savings and Resource Center of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

A regional disparity has been created regarding utilization of coal ash, conference speakers said.

While rates of use in the east are at least 80 percent, in the central parts of the country, rates of use range between 30 percent to 80 percent. And in the western region, where more coal-fired power facilities are going into operation in areas such as the Xinjiang-Uighur autonomous region, rates are often less than 30 percent.

Zhai Guanjie, director of the Coal Ash Research Institute at Dezhou University in the eastern province of Shandong, told Bloomberg BNA that in his province “most if not all of the coal ash is being utilized” and construction is the main driver.

Potential Markets

The prime environmental issue with coal ash in China at the moment is dust blown from poorly covered dumpsites.

“Coal ash in China is going to become a bigger issue than it is today,” said Boyd Ramsey, representing the AmericanCoal Ash Association at the conference.

He explained that part of the reason is an unintended consequence of China requiring stronger limits on airborne emissions from coal-fired power stacks. Those emissions controls can result in more fly ash building up in the stacks.

Ramsey's company, GSE Environmental Lining Technology Co. Ltd., has set up operations in Suzhou, near Shanghai, to provide dumpsite protections as they become needed.

Products like cement made of 95 percent fly ash, which is being brought to China by CeraTech Inc., also could help, said company Executive Vice President Mark Wasilko. CeraTech set up a test facility in Guangdong province that was able to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from a coal power facility that needed to add calcium to the combustion process to enhance the fly ash.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Standaert in Shenzhen, China, at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Greg Henderson at [email protected]