OSU Professor: ‘New fly ash regulations threaten sustainable concrete’

            The director of Oregon State University’s Green Building Materials Laboratory has warned that a proposal to designate coal ash as “hazardous waste” when it is disposed “…comes with a certain public stigma associated with its continued use.”  That stigma would endanger the use of a material that is a key element of green building.

            Writing for Sustainable Business Oregon on August 2, Dr. Jason Ideker recounted the performance and environmental benefits of recycling coal ash in concrete. “We already have a vast toolbox at our disposal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions,” Dr. Ideker wrote. “One of the most common and most effective options is to replace a portion of the portland cement with fly ash (commonly between 25 percent and 50 percent by mass of cement), a by-product of the coal-burning power industry. However, the future of fly ash availability is in question due to new regulations posed by the Environmental Protection Agency.”

            Dr. Ideker’s article explains how coal fly ash is used to improve the quality of concrete and simultaneously create significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. “Since portland cement is responsible for such significant world-wide carbon dioxide emissions, replacing it with a material that would otherwise be relegated to a landfill represents an important step toward improving the sustainability of concrete. It also reduces the burden on landfills.”

       Dr. Ideker also wrote: “Fly ash has a long history of success in many applications. We should be working to increase beneficial uses of fly ash and other materials that contribute to more sustainable concrete and keep more of them out of landfills. This effort is not at odds — or at least it should not be — with the increased movement toward alternative forms of energy that will not be reliant on non-renewable resources such as coal.”

       To see the complete text of Dr. Ideker’s article, click here:


Posted by: on: Aug 04, 2010 @ 03:54