- story by MaterialDistrict
The aim of From Ash is to use the common waste material fly ash as the main element of a new production process. The alkali-activated material is part of the geopolymer family and can easily be made by using basic chemical components. The material becomes mechanically strong within a few hours, allowing a simple production system everywhere near the thermal power plant.
Despite the global consensus on the reduction of coal as an energy source, the economic conjuncture offers to this fossil fuel some decades of intense use. Considering this reality, From Ash is presenting an economical and sustainable material for the afterlife of coal wastes.
Those coal plants are creating energy by burning coal at high temperature. This high temperature is followed by a fast cooling process, creating some by-products, including a very thin dust called fly ash. This fly ash represents around 75% of the coal ash, with a production over 500 million tonnes a year for China and the U.S.A. combined.
A part of the fly ash is recycled as a binder for Portland concrete, making the concrete cheaper and increasing its mechanical properties. But most of the material is wetted and stored on site. However, raw fly ash is by itself the main ingredient of another kind of polymer, more thermally, mechanically and chemically resistant than Portland cement.