RockTron Ltd. has signed a deal with Malaysian energy provider Tenaga Nasional Bhd to transform fly ash into materials such as fillers and extenders in polymers.
RockTron launched its recycled fly-ash technology last year. The company extracts high-performance fillers from the waste ash produced at coal-fired power stations, using the recovered products in bulk applications and some high-performance fillers.
Dato' Yazid Baba, chairman of RockTron Asia, said: We estimate there is over 6 billion metric tons of stockpiled fly ash in the world half of this in Asia. This waste is made up of valuable minerals we have been literally throwing away for decades.
Keynsham-based RockTron launched RockTron Asia in October. The company said Malaysia alone produces 2 million tonnes of fly ash each year, and the country has 2.5 million tonnes stored in ash ponds.
The firm also has a commercial-scale reprocessing unit alongside a power station in Widnes, England. That first installation has capacity for 200 metric tons an hour of PFA, or pulverized fuel ash, extracting a range of products including alumino-silicate hollow glass spheres, solid alumino-silicate microspheres, carbon and magnetite.
Last year, RockTron said it patented exclusive licensed processes that take waste and separate it into useful minerals.
Godfrey Short, business development director at RockTron Advanced Products which is developing the applications said RockTron's process is highly efficient and produces no waste. About 15 million metric tons of PFA is stockpiled at the Widnes site alone, being topped up at a rate of 500,000 metric tons a year.
RockTron expects to be able to supply microspheres which make up around 80 percent of the weight of PFA at a substantial cost saving over traditional alternatives.
Tests carried out at the Polymer Processing Centre at Queens University in Belfast on nylon 6/6 and polybutylene terephthalate compounds have shown that RockTron MinTron microspheres compare well with commercial alternatives in terms of their effect on rheology, tensile and flexural modulus, elongation at break and impact performance, according to Short.