Holistic policy mooted for effective use of fly ash

A strong and holistic policy by the Union government can encourage fly ash-based industries, expand applications and completely eliminate dumping of ash thus helping in combating carbon emissions, said a major exporter and converter of fly ash into sustainable products.

“The government should expand the scope and applications of fly ash. There are many places in the country where floods happen leading to destruction, we can build flood control structure very economically with ash,” said Rishit Dalal, director, Jaycee Group of companies.

“We can also have shoreline protection, stabilisation of soil and several other applications. In developed countries, ash pallets are used to build artificial reefs to support aquatic life,” he said.

Stressing that ash utilisation and ash-based industries should be promoted he said though the government has released several notifications on ash utilisation, there must be an interaction with the industry to make the guidelines pragmatic and implementable.

“A common platform is needed for the government, industry and institutes to discuss ash development, share knowledge, and resolve the industry’s challenges. This platform will be vital if we have to utilise 100% of ash. An annual industry conference can play vital role in building the right ash-strategy for the country,” he added.

Emphasising that India should include ash and ash-based products in all export incentive schemes such as Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP), Market Access Initiative, Interest Equalisation Scheme and NIRVIK Scheme, he said the government incentives can provide a major stimulus to increased ash utilisation through exports.

“The Indian government should create a “central ash-entrepreneurship cell” with an operating framework to facilitate ash-based industries across the country,” he added.

A Jaycee Group entity, he said, is working to help build sustainable cities and combat climate change through low carbon construction materials such as ash and ash-based products.

“We are developing geopolymer cement. It is produced from industrial byproducts and it dramatically reduces carbon footprint. It can work in specific applications such a low rise construction, roads and concrete products,” he added.

The group is also working on light weight aggregates from ash which will help conserve natural resources and reduce mining of natural aggregates. These are lightweight and can enhance the performance of concrete.

“All ash-based products have superior technical characteristics compared to those made with conventional materials. We are developing some products ourselves and also bring international technology partners for some others,” he added.

India’s share of global demand for fly ash is about 20-25% and it goes into Bangladesh cement industry, to Middle East, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Americas.

He said ash exports are expected to increase steadily due to increased demand and focus on mitigation of carbon emissions.

Over 80% of fly ash, which is a by-product from coal-fired power, is utilised while the rest is disposed into ponds.

“Unutilised fly ash in ponds creates major environmental problems – air pollution, heavy metal leaching into the soil, water body contamination and wastage of huge tracts of land which can be used productively,” he said.

“There will be billions of tons of ponded ash that can be processed and reused. Ultrafine fly ash can replace silica fume, which are mainly imported . It will help India become self-reliant for such special materials used in high performance applications,” he added.

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