The two largest beneficial uses of encapsulated coal combustion residuals (CCR) — commonly known as coal ash — are in concrete/concrete products/grout and in gypsum panel products. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), these uses of coal ash are the most appropriate because they are comparable to the original materials, and they fall below the agency’s health and environmental benchmarks. The extraction of new raw minerals consumes energy, impacts the environment, limits the availability of natural resources and has a detrimental effect on water resources. Recycling and reusing waste materials helps decrease these unfortunate impacts.
Coal ash is a byproduct of coal combustion. It forms when coal is burned in boilers that generate steam for industrial applications and power generation. Burning coal produces three types of ash as coal combustion residuals: