Fly Ash : Environment for UPSC Exams

Fly Ash : Environment for UPSC Exams

  • Fly ash is one of the coal combustion products, composed of the fine particles that are driven out of the boiler with the flue gases.

  • Ash that falls in the bottom of the boiler is called bottom ash.

  • In modern coal-fired power plants, fly ash is generally captured by electrostatic precipitators or other particle filtration equipment before the flue gases reach the chimneys. Together with bottom ash removed from the bottom of the boiler, it is known as coal ash.

  • All fly ash includes substantial amounts of silicon dioxide (SiO2), aluminium oxide (Al2O3) and calcium oxide (CaO).

  • Constituents of fly ash can be: Arsenic, beryllium, boron, cadmium, chromium, hexavalent chromium, cobalt, lead, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, selenium, strontium, thallium, and vanadium.

  • In the past, fly ash was simply dispersed into the atmosphere. This created environmental and health concerns that prompted laws that have reduced fly ash emissions to less than 1% of ash produced.

  • Worldwide, more than 65% of fly ash produced from coal power stations is disposed of in landfills and ash ponds.

  • Probable uses of fly ash:

    • Concrete production, as a substitute material for Portland cement and sand
    • Embankments and other structural fills (usually for road construction)
    • Groud and Flowable fill production
    • Waste stabilization and solidification
    • Cement clinkers production - (as a substitute material for clay)
    • Mine reclamation
    • Stabilization of soft soils
    • Road sub-base construction
    • As Aggregate substitute material (e.g. for brick production)
    • Mineral filler in asphaltic concrete
    • Agricultural uses: soil amendment, fertilizer, cattle feeders, soil stabilization in stock feed yards, and agricultural stakes
    • Loose application on rivers to melt ice
    • Loose application on roads and parking lots for ice control

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