Paints from fly-ash by 2015, says MoEF official

Annamalai University Administrator Shiv Das Meena (centre) releasing the conference souvenir at a national workshop in Chidambaram on Thursday— Photo: T. Singaravelou  

Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) in coordination with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has been fine tuning the technology of extracting pigments from fly-ash, said M. Salahuddin, Director (Clean technology), MoEF.The pigments could in turn be used in the manufacture of paints of various hues.

Buildings coated with such paints, apart from acting as protective shields, would effectively safeguard the state-of-the-art equipment from disabling electromagnetic waves. The paints would come into practical use by 2015, Mr. Salahuddin told The-Hindu on the sidelines of a workshop on “Geopolymer concrete” held at Annamalai University on Thursday.

Earlier he delivered a speech at the workshop jointly organized by the Faculty of Engineering and Technology of Annamalai University and the MoEF, at Chidambaram. In his address, he said that fly-ash, once discarded as a waste, would soon emerge as a major construction material. The bricks and blocks made of fly-ash were three to five times stronger and 30 to 40 per cent cheaper than conventional bricks. The thermal power units across the country were generating 188 billion tonnes of fly-ash a year and of which only 14 per cent, that is 25 billion tonnes of fly-ash, was put to use.

In countries such as China, Australia and South Africa, the fly-ash usage had reached 90-95 per cent. Strategies were being worked out on how best the accumulating fly-ash stocks could be handled in the country, he said adding that the National Fly-ash Mission launched in the early 1980s could not take off owing to the difference of opinion between the scientists and the executives.

Railways, PWD

should use fly-ash

“If the Public Works Department, the Railways and the Rural Development Agency come forward to use fly-ash, the problem posed by mounting stocks of fly-ash could be solved,” he said.

Government- appointed Administrator of the university Shiv Das Meena said that recycling the by-product such as fly-ash for productive purposes would help in environmental protection.

He hoped that the outcome of the substantial research done by Annamalai University on geopolymer concrete, an alternative to cement concrete, would be useful to the society.

“In the days to come, fly-ash would be used in a big way in the construction industry,” Mr Meena said.

Prof. C. Antony Jeyasehar, Head, Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, Annamalai University, said that the Rs 53-lakh geopolymer project sanctioned by the MoEF was completed and its results were being shared in the workshop.

L. Kannan, former Vice-Chancellor of Thiruvalluvar University; S.Velusamy, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, and S. Thirugnanasambandam, Associated Professor, and others participated.