Ohio State Professor Awarded Grant for Coal Fly Ash Waste Management Research in India

Tarunjit ButaliaTarunjit Butalia, research associate professor in the Ohio State Department of Civil, Environment and Geodetic Engineering and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), was awarded a five lakr or $7,635 grant from the U.S. Consulate Mumbai to research the sustainability of waste fly ash for mine placement in an environment-friendly manner.

Fly ash, also known as pulverized fuel ash, is a coal combustion product composed of fine particles driven out of the boiler with flue gases and produces potentially poisonous chemicals. It is an industrial waste produced in coal mines which was generally released into the atmosphere. Air pollution control standards now require it be captured prior to release by fitting pollution control equipment. Some industries store fly ash wet which often leads to ground water, surface water and soil contamination.

A large number of technologies have been developed for gainful utilization and safe management of fly ash. In India, few efforts have been made to use thermal power coal ash as backfill material in underground or open cast mines and to predict its subsequent effect on ground water quality. The study intends to analyze the interactions of coal ash and mine water to provide a representative scientific data regime which would serve as a basic document for the formulation of guidelines for use of ash in mine back filling or reclamation purpose. The proposed research, if demonstrates efficient, will be able to give solutions to various environmental problems impacting millions of Indians and other parts of the world.

India Gateway's role in monitoring the project is crucial as they will continuously evaluate and validate the process and outcome of the project in the coming year. Priya Kurle, assistant director of the Ohio State India Gateway, is monitoring and evaluating the project along with three projects that received similar awards in the area of waste management.