Maharashtra coal-fired plants told to supply free fly ash

Operators of coal-fired power plants in India‘s Maharashtra state have been directed to supply fly ash free of charge to offtakers within a 300 km radius of their facilities.

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) issued a directive this week requiring plant owners to file an affidavit confirming that they are following the new rule.

Local offtakers are primarily construction firms, which use the fly ash ” a by-product of coal-fired power production ” in the manufacture of bricks, cement, concrete and road surface materials.

The MPCB said the directive is an attempt to reduce the amount of fly ash produced by the 1700 MW Koradi plant and the 1340 MW Khaparkheda plant, which has contaminated ground water around the city of Nagpur.

In June the MPCB ruled that the state’s power plant operators must use coal containing 34 per cent ash content or less, following on from a similar rule for coal suppliers set in November 2015. However, suppliers have been slow in reducing the ash content of their offerings and reports suggest that, to date, little change has been seen.

India’s federal government has called fly ash disposal a major issue, with 40-50 per cent of fly ash going unused. Tamil Nadu’s housing board came under fire in June for failing to implement a 2009 environment ministry directive that all new housing projects must be built with bricks containing fly ash. The housing board, which was shown to use fly ash in only 20 per cent of its projects, said it was difficult to source fly ash within the timeframe allotted for construction.à‚ 

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