Pulverised Fuel Ash: The Unsung Concrete Champion!


Blockwalls & Sustainable Concrete


With the emphasis over the past few years and the foreseeable future being dominated by the importance of the Circular Economy, it seems only fair that Manufacturers all over the UK and World play their part in trying to reduce Carbon Emissions and create cleaner more sustainable alternatives to the normal Concrete mixes.

Here at Blockwalls one of our fundamental goals as a business is to create a Geo-Polymer Concrete that will set us aside from our competition whilst at the same time, create a cleaner more sustainable alternative to Ordinary Portland Cement.

We have recently entered into an agreement with Queen University, Belfast in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership which has seen a Research Expert in Concrete join our ranks to develop a sustainable Concrete product, that would cater to the need for sustainable development within the Construction Industry. Our clients who are already taking steps to embrace the Circular Economy have taken this development in their stride and some are already working alongside us to produce an eco-friendlier concrete.


What Is Pulverised Fuel Ash


Pulverised Fuel Ash or PFA as it’s quite commonly known is a waste product of pulverised fuel. Normally coal fired power stations. The fuel is pulverised into a fine powder of sorts before being mixed with heated air and is then burned. Just less than 20% of this fuel forms fine glass spheres. The result of this process is then used as a filler in Concrete manufacture which decreases the need for as much Cement and reduces the Carbon emissions of the Concrete Manufacture.


Advantages of PFA


There are massive advantages on the environment by using this method in Concrete production and there are great examples around the world of PFA being used in structural Concrete for diverse projects all over the world.

The benefits of using PFA in Concrete production isn’t just a green one either. It has been proven that Concrete has long term strength improvement when using PFA, improved durability when mixed with water, improved surface finish and also reduced shrinkage and cracking.


The Future Of Pulverised Fuel Ash


After reading the above you’d be forgiven for asking “why isn’t everyone using this waste product for Concrete production then?”

The simple truth is that in the UK it’s a resource that is limited and over the next 5 years may no longer be available with the decommissioning of the Coal mines around Great Britain, however throughout many other regions in the world, it’s a commodity that will be available for many years to come and should be championed as a way to cut carbon emissions. In some parts of the world using PFA as a cement substitute in Concrete is already mandatory. When you consider that by using PFA instead of the same amount of cement you can reduce your carbon emissions by over 20% the only negative is that this waste product isn’t be recognised more widely as one of the single greatest factors in supporting the Circular Economy movement around the world today.

The Circular Economy

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