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Utilisation of Latrobe Valley Brown Coal Fly-Ash


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Author Black C, Brockway D, Hodges S, Milner A


The combustion of brown coals in Latrobe Valley power stations produces approximately 500 000 tonnes of solid wastes each year. This material, which includes precipitator ash, char and furnace ash, is hydraulically sluiced to large ashing ponds and the supernatant solution is ultimately discharged to the sea. There are significant operational and capital costs associated with the current ashing system. The ash produced from the Latrobe Valley coals is unique and has a wide variety of potential applications including soil conditioning, concrete and cement extenders, fillers in non-metallic materials, components of building products. In addition, with the application of appropriate technology, it is possible to extract char, sodium sulphate, calcium carbonate and magnesium metal (as the chloride) in substantial quantities from the ash. Research has been carried out to explore the prospects of these various options for ash utilisation. The research has focused on detailed characterisation of the ash material and the potential extraction efficiency for various species under various conditions. From this work a conceptual process has been developed and subsequent studies have been directed towards understanding variables and optimising operating regimes for product extraction. Currently, the work is concentrating on the separation of char, the development of high-grade carbon products and the extraction of sodium sulphate.