The establishment of a new geopolymer concrete manufacturing industry in regional Western Australia is on the horizon, following a successful feasibility study conducted by Murdoch University.
Laboratory and field trials demonstrated Collie, 200 km south of Perth, has the necessary resources to make products such as retaining wall blocks, sea walls, sound barrier walls, culverts, kerbing, and storm water pipes.
Up to 500,000 tonnes of fly ash is being produced in the town, with vast stockpiles remaining from 60 years of coal-fired power generation that could be reclaimed long after the power stations in Collie and Muja close in 2030.
And Collie’s fly ash is “very good quality” for making geopolymer concrete. A comparison of fly ash sourced from power stations in Collie, Eraring in NSW, and Tarong in Queensland, found the WA fly ash was the most reactive during geopolymerisation due to its finer particle size, leading to the highest compressive strength concrete.
The manufacturing process, known as Colliecrete, uses fly ash and other industrial by-products and waste materials as an ingredient in the low carbon concrete product.
The WA Government revealed the feasibility study “highlights the potential to establish a geopolymer concrete manufacturing industry and create jobs … [and] has identified options for industry partners to commercialise the technology”.
It announced that Murdoch University will now put together a consortium to commercialise the project that will be eligible for capital investment. The university developed the product by partnering with Synergy, Bluewaters Power Station and South 32, with funding from the WA Government.