Fly ash bricks: One man's trash, an other man's treasure

Since we no longer heat our houses with coal furnaces, most of us are probably unaware of how burning coal creates ash. The vast majority of electricity in the U.S., however, is still generated in coal-burning plants. These power plants capture and dispose of the fly ash, since it is loaded with mercury, lead and other toxic chemicals. The fly ash is buried in specially designed ponds and landfills, most likely a very costly process.
A retired civil engineering professor think he has a better way of disposing of the fly ash: create eco-friendly, weather resistant bricks for building purposes. The idea came to him as an offshoot of a research project investigating how to ship compact, highly pressurized cylinders of coal, propelled by water, through pipelines. The compression techniques could be adapted to other substances, one being fly ash. The critical unknown is obviously if the toxins in the fly ash will affect the environment surrounding any structure built with these bricks, and an experiment is underway to investigate any possible exposure.

While this does not directly relate to transportation, consumers should have an understanding of the processes involved in generating the electricity we use (or abuse) so much of, especially since we are considering using even more electricity either for plug-in hybrids, or to generate hydrogen for transportation purposes.

[Source:, Joel A, the prolific AutoBlogGreen tipster strikes again, thanks!]

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