Shifting global paradigm for CCP: Harvesting for the circular economy

Shifting global paradigm for CCP: Harvesting for the circular economy

Craig Heidrich1, Joachim Feuerborn2

1Ash Development Association Australia, PO BOX 85, Port Kembla, NSW 2505, AUSTRALIA; 2European Coal Combustion Products Association, Deilbachtal 173, 45257 Essen, Germany/EUROPE

KEYWORDS: CCPs, Circular Economy, Harvesting, Trade, Regulation, Low Carbon


In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the need to shift towards a circular economy, where waste is minimized and resources are reused and recycled. This shift is particularly relevant in the context of coal combustion products (CCPs), which are generated as a by-product of coal-fired power plants and have traditionally been treated as undervalued resources.

However, there is now increasing interest in harvesting CCPs, coal-fired power plants continue to be retired, for use in various applications, including construction materials, agriculture, and even cosmetics. This emerging trend is driven by several factors, including the need to reduce waste, the desire to conserve resources, and the recognition of the potential economic benefits of CCPs.

One example of the use of CCPs in the circular economy is their incorporation into concrete. Fly ash, a CCP, can be used as a replacement for cement in concrete, reducing the need for virgin materials and lowering the carbon footprint of the concrete verified through the use of internationally consistent PCR’s and regionally EPD’s.

In addition to construction materials, CCPs can also be used in agriculture. For example, some CCPs contain nutrients that are beneficial for plant growth, and can be used as a fertilizer. Other CCPs, such as flue gas desulfurization gypsum, can be used to improve soil quality and reduce soil acidity.

Overall, the shift towards the harvesting of CCPs for the circular economy represents a significant opportunity to beneficiate these resources, moreover conserve natural resources, and create economic value. However, it also requires careful consideration on a site-by-site basis of a range of potential impacts from harvesting CCPs, as well as the need for appropriate regulation and management to facilitate use. These challenges will be discussed in this paper.

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