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What is Fly Ash? Explained

Collaboration with cement manufacturers has been started by the NTPC Ltd. under Ministry of Power across the country to supply ash as a part of its endeavour to achieve 100% utilisation of the by-product produced during power generation.

About Fly Ash

It is also called as Flue ash or pulverised fuel ash. Basically, it is a coal combustion product.

What is its composition?

It is composed of the particulates that are driven out of coal-fired boilers alongside the flue gases.

The components of fly ash vary considerably and depend upon the source and composition of the coal burned. But basically fly ash consists of substantial amounts of silicon dioxide (SiO2), aluminium oxide (Al2O3) and calcium oxide (CaO) which is the main mineral compounds in coal-bearing rock strata.

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Some of the minor constituents consist of arsenic, beryllium, boron, cadmium, chromium, hexavalent chromium, cobalt, lead, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, selenium, strontium, thallium, and vanadium, alongside very small concentrations of dioxins and PAH compounds. It also has unburnt carbon.

What are the health and environmental hazards?

– Heavy metals that are found in fly ash are nickel, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, lead, etc are toxic in nature.

– For an equal amount of electricity generated, fly ash consists a hundred times more radiation than nuclear waste secured.

– In India, frequently the breaching of ash dykes and consequent ash spills occur which pollutes several water bodies.

– It also paves effect on the environment as the destruction of mangroves, a drastic reduction in crop yields, and the pollution of groundwater in the Rann of Kutch from the ash sludge of adjoining Coal power plants has been well documented.

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Uses of Fly Ash

– For Portland cement, sand, it acts as concrete production and as a substitute material .

– Embankments and other structural fills.

– Stabilization of soft soils.

– Road subbase construction.

– Embankments and other structural fills.

– As aggregate substitute material (e.g. for brick production).

– Loose application on rivers to melt ice.

– Loose application on roads and parking lots for ice control. etc.

Daily Gist of ‘The Hindu’, ‘PIB’, ‘Indian Express’ and Other Newspapers: 14 October, 2020

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