The coal industry has a track record of continued improvements against environmental and economic challenges, through applying current and emerging technologies.
Technologies exist and are being further developed to mitigate coal’s impact – particularly around the reduction of air emissions and coal’s water footprint.
Coal combustion products
The by-products generated from burning coal in coal-fired plants are known as coal combustion products (CCPs). These include fly ash, bottom ash, boiler slag, flue gas desulphurisation gypsum and other types of material such as fluidised bed combustion ash, cenospheres, and scrubber residues.
Coal combustion products play an important role in concrete production – fly ash can be used to replace cement in concrete. Using CCPs reduces GHG emissions, reduces the need for landfill space, and eliminates the need to use primary raw materials.
Fly ash does not require the energy-intensive kilning process required by portland cement – the most common type of cement used in the world – the use of fly ash in concrete production therefore reduces the environmental impact of the process.
CCPs are expected to continue to play a major role in the concrete market and their use in other building products is also expected to grow as sustainable construction becomes more prominent, and more architects and building owners understand the benefits of using CCPs.