Coal fly ash utilisation and environmental impact

Shanjida Sultana, Saifuddin Ahsan, Sakib Tanvir, Nawshad Hawue, Firoz Alam, Mohan Yellishetty

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The global power generation is dominated by coal (38%) followed by natural gas (23%), hydro (16%), nuclear (11%), wind (5%), oil (3%), solar (2%) and biofuel (2%) in 2019. The coal-fired power generation creates coal ash (fly ash-85% and bottom ash-15%) nearly 1 billion tonne annually. Although the coal ash was considered waste and dumped as land fill, the application of fly ash in various fields has created around 4 billion US dollar global market in 2020 with the predicted annual increase of 6%. Despite industrial-scale utilisation, limited information is available on potential value-added material extraction from the coal fly ash. This book chapter reviews the current industrial-scale utilisation of coal ash. The paper also undertakes a case study of coal ash utilisation in an emerging nation, as most emerging nations are expected to leverage coal as cheap energy source for power generation to accelerate their industrial and economic development. Furthermore, an analysis on potential metal (including rare earth element) value contained in coal fly ash has also been undertaken to highlight its economic value. The increased industrial-scale utilisation and potential extraction of metal from coal ash ensures a win-win situation for environment, economy, and supplementation of global rare earth element stock.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClean Coal Technologies
Subtitle of host publicationBeneficiation, Utilization, Transport Phenomena and Prospective
EditorsRajesh Kumar Jyothi, Pankaj Kumar Parhi
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783030685027
ISBN (Print)9783030685010
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Bottom ash
  • Coal
  • Fly ash
  • Fly ash composition
  • Industrial use
  • Rare earth element

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