Coal

About the Counter

When coal fly ash is used in the production of concrete, it makes the concrete stronger and more durable. It also allows concrete producers to use less cement. Using less cement significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the cement manufacturing process.

The Recycled Materials Resource Center - which is affiliated with the University of New Hampshire and the University of Wisconsin at Madison - used the life cycle assessment approach to quantify the environmental and economic benefits of using coal ash in construction applications. They considered energy use, water use, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with using coal ash and virgin mined material, as well as avoided landfill space. Results showed that in 2007 alone, beneficial use of coal ash saved:

  • 159 trillion BTUs in energy use
  • 10.9 million tons of CO2 release
  • 32 billion gallons of water use
  • $5 billion - $10 billion