|About this Abstract
||2017 TMS Annual Meeting & Exhibition
||Advances in Environmental Technologies: Recycling and Sustainability Joint Session
||Scoping the Potential of Coal Ash as a Source of Rare Earth Elements
||Gabrielle Gaustad, Vasken Xhaxhollari, Eric Williams, Saptarshi Das
|On-Site Speaker (Planned)
It has been well known for decades that coal ash contains both hazardous and valuable metals. However, a majority of secondary uses for both fly and bottom ash, for example as cement and concrete additives, do not attempt to extract these materials. Current concerns about lack of diversity in supply of critical materials have spurred research into utilizing domestic sources, particularly from waste streams. This work combines material flow analysis and techno-economic modeling to explore the resource and economic potential for coal ash to become a valuable source of rare earth elements (REE). Results show that while REE concentrations in the ash are significantly lower than currently economically extractable ores in most mines, the magnitude of materials available could meet current REE demand even at fairly low extraction yield rates. A combination of higher REE commodity prices, improved yields, and scale-up factors would be required for economic profitability.