The Index Project
Index Award 2009 Finalists
Green Building Products from Fly Ash
Green building products that look and perform like normal building products but are made of fly ash - a waste by-product of coal power plants

Burning coal not only causes air pollution, and contributes to global warming, but it also generates huge quantities of solid waste in the form of combustion byproducts like ‘fly ash’.

Currently, less than 50% of all fly ash is reused. The bulk of it, an estimated hundred million tons a year, is disposed of in slurry ponds or reservoirs, causing massive environmental damage.

Dr. Henry Liu, civil egineer and the president of Freight Pipeline Company (FPC) has developed a unique new process that can make building products, such as bricks, from fly ash.

Using fly ash to make building products has several beneficial impacts on the environment, some of which include: saving energy, reducing solid waste disposal, reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases, and mitigating global warming. In addition, the design’s flexibility and adaptability lend itself to a broad range of applications, such as bricks, building blocks, tiles, pavers, and decorative products.

As the products are made solely from fly ash without any other solids, like cement, lime, or sand, they’re freeze-thaw resistant. This makes them an ideal building product for use in regions where freezing occurs in winter.

Furthermore, the process does not require firing of products in kilns or high-temperature treatment in autoclaves, thereby saving much energy and reducing greenhouse gases in manufacturing. Research sponsored by U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) also found that the fly ash products are highly environmentally friendly and safe to use.

“The products also slowly absorb CO2 from air and convert it into limestone, thereby reducing CO2 in the atmosphere and helping to combat global warming,” said Liu.

Designed by
Dr. Henry Liu - United States