A little more than a year and a half ago, we alerted you that an almost-comprehensive handbook concerning the productive utilization and consumption of Coal Ash had been composed by experts employed by the Wisconsin Electric Power company, now "We Energies".

Our report about that handbook remains accessible on the West Virginia Coal Association's web site via:

Wisconsin Coal Ash Utilization Guidebook Available | Research & Development | News.


It concerns:

"Coal Combustion Products Utilization Handbook (2nd Edition); By Bruce Ramme & Mathew Tharaniyil (We Energies); Copyright 2004";

and, which "Handbook" contains chapters as diverse as:

"Concrete and Concrete and Masonry Products Containing Fly Ash"; "Fly Ash Stabilized Cold In-Place Recycled Asphalt Pavements"; and: "Fly Ash Metal Matrix Composites".

We noted that the Handbook is "almost-comprehensive", since it doesn't cover some additional potentials for using and consuming Coal Ash, such as that, for one example, seen in our report of:

Pittsburgh Converts Coal Ash and Flue Gas into Cement | Research & Development | News; concerning: "United States Patent 5,766,339 - Producing Cement from a Flue Gas Desulfurization Waste; 1998; Assignee: Dravo Lime Company, Pittsburgh; Abstract: Cement is produced by forming a moist mixture of a flue gas desulfurization process waste product (and) aluminum, iron, silica and carbon, agglomerating the moist mixture while drying the same to form a feedstock, and calcining the dry agglomerated feedstock in a rotary kiln to form a cement clinker; and pulverizing said cement clinker to produce cement. The process for producing cement from a flue gas desulfurization process waste product ... wherein said source of aluminum and iron comprises fly ash";

wherein it was disclosed that Coal Ash can actually be used as a raw material from which Portland-type Cement itself can be made - - to which Cement more Coal Ash can be added to make Portland-type Cement Concrete.

Nor does it cover the potentials, as seen for one example in our report of: 

China Extracts Aluminum Ore from Coal Ash | Research & Development | News; concerning: "'China's Shenua to Produce Alumina from Coal Ash'; December 19, 2011; China's Shenhua Group began construction Sunday of a coal ash-based alumina refinery in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, the official Xinhua news agency said. Shenhua plans to invest Yuan 135.8 billion ($21.4 billion) in the project, deputy manager Ling Wen is quoted as having said. Located in the Jungar coal mining area in Ordos city, the project will include a 6.6 GW power plant, an alumina plant and a gallium plant";

for utilizing Coal Ash as an ore, a source, of strategically-critical metals.

Those few shortcomings aside, .the "Coal Combustion Products Utilization Handbook (2nd Edition)" is, we think, a valuable resource, one which clearly affirms one point we have been attempting to demonstrate over the long course of our reportage, i.e.:

Coal Ash, as is co-produced during and by our economically essential use of Coal in the generation of truly abundant and truly affordable electric power, could and should be seen and treated as a valuable mineral resource, a mineral resource that has in some ways already been pre-refined and made almost-ready for some valuable uses just as it emerges from a Coal-fired boiler.

And, as we're certain will surprise, perhaps even dismay, some folks, President Obama's White House is now making "Coal Combustion Products Utilization Handbook (2nd Edition)" available on the internet via the official White House web site electronic library.

Moreover, the White House is making the complete "Handbook" available for downloading as an electronic file; and, we've retrieved a copy and will forward it to the West Virginia Coal Association, should they wish to make it accessible on their own web site.

Repeating excerpts from the contents and from the table of contents seems too redundant, relative to our prior report concerning the Handbook, which we refer you to if you would like a more complete introduction to the details.

In passing, though, there is one excerpt from Page 2 of Chapter 1 we would like to share with you:

"In some parts of the world, Coal Combustion Products utilization rates are much higher than that of the United States. For example, in the Netherlands CCP utilization is about 104% (Netherlands imports ash, as their supply is less than demand)".

And, we remind you, that, as seen in our report of:

Saudi Arabia Imports Coal Fly Ash | Research & Development | News;

The Netherlands isn't the only nation that values Coal Ash so highly they feel obliged to import it.

Further, coincident with the appearance of the "Coal Combustion Products Utilization Handbook" in the official Obama White House electronic library, there also was recently issued a news release from the United States Environmental Protection Agency:

02/07/2014: EPA Evaluation Finds Use of Coal Ash in Concrete and Wallboard Appropriate; "'EPA Evaluation Finds Use of Coal Ash in Concrete and Wallboard Appropriate'; February 7, 2014; WASHINGTON - Using a newly developed methodology, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released its evaluation of the two largest beneficial uses of encapsulated coal combustion residuals (CCR or coal ash): use in concrete as a substitute for portland cement, and the use of flue gas desulfurization gypsum as a substitute for mined gypsum in wallboard";

wherein the US EPA publicly encourages some of the uses for Coal Ash/Coal Combustion Byproducts discussed in the "Handbook". See also, for a slightly more complete exposition of it:

EPA Okays Use of Coal Ash in Concrete and Wallboard | Research & Development | News.

Again, we'll send along an electronic copy of the "Handbook" to the West Virginia Coal Association, which they might make accessible on their web site. If not, it remains accessible on the official White House web site, via the initial link in this dispatch, at the time of this writing.

And, to be honest, we, here, think that the appearance of the above documents on the White House and EPA web sites might be a signal to those of us in Coal Country who might be feeling a little beleaguered by all of the "toxic coal ash" baloney sandwiches that have been hurled at us by the popular media in recent years, with the threat of even more legislation targeting our vital Coal and Coal-use industries such might imply.

The White House and the EPA might be saying to us, in effect, that, "Hey! There are some things that can be done with Coal Ash that would not only get some of the regulatory heat off your backs, but that might also create new Coal Country industries and new Coal Country jobs."

In other words, the "door" might have been cracked open a bit for us here, and, the question for us now is:

Do we have the motivation and the sense of enterprise, the simple gumption, within ourselves to get up off our dead cans, walk over to that door, and see if we can't find behind and through it some new, productive opportunities for all our brothers and sisters, all the citizens of United States Coal Country?

Well, do we?

West Virginia Coal Association - PO Box 3923 - Charleston, WV 25339 | 304-342-4153 | website developed by brickswithoutstraw