Monday, December 30, 2013

The Uses of Coal Ash

Coal ash from coal burnt as fuel has been described as both an environmental danger and an environmental asset. Renewable energy sources are often pushed as the answer to fuel sources such as coal. It may help to know more about why people take these opposing views.

Image via Wikipedia

Recently there was a fuel coal ash spill in Kingston, Tennessee. The coal ash involved measured 5.4 million cubic yards.
This has raised some questions about the safety of fuel coal ash and also caused some people to ask, “Where might I find coal ash without being aware of it?”

The answers may surprise you, as coal ash may be in your carpet or under your golf course.
When coal is burnt for fuel, one of the byproducts is coal ash. So it stands to reason that as long as we use coal as a source of fuel, we will have to think about ways in which the ash can be utilized properly.

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Coal: Opposing Viewpoints

There are three types of coal ash. These are:
  • Fly ash
  • Bottom ash
  • Boiler slag
Fly ash accounts for approximately 74% of the ash generated. Fly ash and other residue may be stored in a coal ash impoundment. A coal ash impoundment may contain millions of tons of coal ash.
A team from the University of Pittsburgh will conduct a study in the summer of 2010, to determine whether toxic chemicals are being leached from the coal ash impoundment at Little Blue, West Virginia, U.SA, into the water table. The study will utilize well water testing.

Well water testing can be used to determine the effects of coal ash on the groundwater in an area that is at risk of contamination. Homeowners who experience a coal ash spill in their area, or live in the vicinity of a coal ash impoundment and have private drinking water supplies, may use well water testing to ensure that their water supply is safe.

Coal ash is not yet regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), even though it contains mercury, arsenic and lead, which are all toxic substances. Instead each of the United States is responsible for conducting regulation of the ash it produces. However the EPA does approve the use of coal ash in construction.
In 1996 approximately 22% of the fly ash produced was used for construction.

Its construction applications are many:
  • It’s used for making cement and concrete products
  • It’s used in structural fills and embankments
  • It’s used as mineral filler in asphalt pavement
  • It’s used to stabilize waste materials
  • It’s used to level out uneven terrain on sites including housing developments, malls and runways.
To be used in this way, coal ash must meet certain requirements.
For example, in Portland Cement Concrete, fly ash must meet the standards of ASTM C618. The ASTM is the American Society for Testing and Materials.
The ash used to produce Portland cement actually allows some cutbacks in using oil. It would have taken 55 gallons to produce one ton of cement.

Coal ash has also been found useful in the making of:
  • Paints and plastics
  • Kitchen countertops
  • Soil for growing plants. It increases crop yields.
  • Bowling balls
  • Vinyl flow covering
  • Shower stalls
Studies have been conducted to determine the safety of some but not all, of these applications.
Green energy is being pushed as an alternative source of energy. Green energy from renewable energy resources is preferred to energy from non renewable energy resources like oil and coal.
Green energy sources include solar energy and wind energy. Green energy is also derived from geothermal power. Tide energy is also being used as a source of green energy.

When we reduce our electricity consumption, we cut the amount of coal ash that is produced by power companies that burn coal as part of their production process. There is also a better way to use electricity. This allows you to enjoy electrical products without spending an excessive amount of money on your energy bill. Click Here!” target=”_blank”>Find out more here.

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Bacterial Infection in Intestinal Tract
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I previously published this here:

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Poultry Production in Ethiopia

Poultry production in Ethiopia is an example of projects that are undertaken by entrepreneurs who reside in villages across the country. There are several different models for breeding schemes that can be used by businesspeople in this sector. In order to decide which system would be best in this part of Africa, surveys were done prior to the implementation of the project.

Exploring Village poultry development in Ethiopia: socio-technical analysis and learning with farmers- Get it on Amazon

Poultry farming is a major source of income for both large and small enterprises across the world. In several countries, chicken is a major source of protein. Even people who eat very little animal protein at dinner may consume eggs, which are far cheaper and supply folic acid and other nutrients.

Farmers in this sector find that it is relatively easy to raise hens and roosters. Once they have the space to build a coop, their other concerns are ensuring that the animals are well fed and kept free of disease. Infections spread rapidly among animals that are in relatively close contact with each other and an aspiring business woman can lose her whole investment if the chickens get sick.

Poultry production in Ethiopia is usually undertaken by people who cannot make a long term investment in the land they live on, since they don’t own it. These farmers are often female. They may also lack the resources to invest in more expensive cows, goats or pigs. The chickens are fed and are also allowed to scavenge, or live under free range conditions.

Source: International Livestock Research Institute, “Reducing the Impact of Infectious Diseases on Village Poultry Production in Ethiopia”,

Monday, July 1, 2013

What is Being Done About Coal Ash Spills?

The picture attached to this post shows a coal sludge spill in the United States. While this may not have affected you, it did affect someone else. To this date, there are not serious measures put in place to address this sort of problem.

Every now and again, the news reports that a spill has occurred somewhere in America. Coal is useful, yes. However not enough is being done to manage the detrimental effect that coal ash spills have on animals and humans. No serious penalties are in place to put pressure on companies in the industry to handle their waste better.