New concrete made from coal plant waste lasts 10 times as long

A triple win. A highly toxic substance, waste from coal plants, can be converted to a super durable, long-lasting, low carbon concrete.

[the concrete] can capture carbon dioxide, prevent the need for toxic dump sites, and be turned into a better, longer-lasting version of a highly in-demand product.


  1. Concrete is the most amazing adobe. Almost thirty years ago we were pouring concrete out of Mt St Helens’ Ash around here. Afore that ‘fer a hudred years we just ground it up out of the volcanic sand proliferate here upon the debris that is the confluence of two continents.

    Not a part of either, the debris…

    So… I’m hooked in with a bunch of physicist engineer (mad scientists!) types these days playing around with concrete re-barred with hemp fibers, and writing computer models (hey! it pays) that at the most extreme (Winter’s exponential) demonstrate the potential of a ten thousand year survival. It’s like, we might be making rocks here.

    ‘Er Pyramids.

    ‘Course, the unfortunate flip ‘o that is that fifty years ago we were pouring concrete out of uranium mine tailings on The Big Rez, building schools, heath clinics, cop shops…

    We’re all irradiated now…

  2. I guess my question would be – if it is toxic before it is turned into concrete – what happens to the toxicity in the process? I’d sure hate to have a house built out of something that could make the house unlivable. Like lead paint, bad sheetrock or asbestos.

  3. And it’s all good, right. It would never come out when the building is damanged or destroyed. Just as safe as putting asbstos fibers into the contrete used in large buildings, like the twin towers…. Oh… wait.

    • The government said it was safe. They wouldn’t lie to us, would they?

      • And this is the same government some folks trust to bring us socialized medicine?! I’m no reactionary, as you know, but this sounds like insanity to me: doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

        • It’s being privately developed, first by a university, now by a spin off company. Checked several reports and found nothing either way about whether it is toxic.

  4. This may be a private venture, but you brought up the “possibility” that our government might lie to us, which is on topic for the current political debate.

    This is the government that told us nuclear testing was safe, that Utah’s downwinders were hypochondraics, and that all those cases of thyroid cancer across the northern U.S. were just coincidental. Until Utah governor Scott Matheson, himself a downwinder who later died of cancer, sued to force the feds to admit what they knew. And not only did they know, they did it on purpose to study the long-term effects of radiation. They used the population of Utah as lab rats.

    That’s hardly irrelevant when we’re asking ourselves whether government can be trusted to have our best interests at heart with respect to health care– and wondering why there are a lot of folks who don’t think it can.

    • Thirty-ought years ago I met a fellow generational logger born the same day a hundred or so miles to the south with his sixth digit opposing mine of the left hand, both having been removed within moments of birth. The Walker Corridor of south-central and eastern Oregon too received high concentrations of fallout, and those of us who grew up huntin’ and fishin’, fightin’ and fu.. whoops, eating “fresh” game and garden, drinking “fresh” water (seventeen miles from the headwaters) and goat milk…

      The reference to the uranium tailings is actually from your part of The High Desert, DJ, though a bit farther south on the Dine`corners of The Big Rez. Schools, laundromats, jails… pretty much everything “infrastructure” as well as many of the “townhouses”.

      It’s not like they didn’t know

    • Yet trusting private corporations to do the right thing clearly is no answer either.

    • DJ, if the you don’t trust the government to run it, then please tell me, who do you trust to do that job? Clearly it’s not working in the hands of private corporations. Who should be trust to handle this issue?

      I love how every time someone doesn’t trust the government the point to some horror story that was “revealed decades later”. We found out about a lot of the government scandals, maybe decades after the fact, but word got out and procedures were put in place to prevent recurrence. How many times have we NOT heard about private industry scandals just like this?

      How many times did auto manufacturers, for example, pay off people injured in exploding cars, or cars that flip, decades before the Ford/Firestone incodent? Lots it turns out. But since those involved were in private companies, they kept it under wraps. People aren’t elected to the boards of Ford by the local population. Government at leas has a chance of getting people in there that are actually concerned about *gasp* the people they represent, that may blow the whistle eventually.

  5. The nightmare stories are not just anecdotes where I live. One of my clients used to go out and watch the flashes of the nuclear tests when she was a child. Another’s grandfather died of cancer– years after the fallout killed a whole herd of his sheep in a matter of days. Scott Matheson, the downwinder governor who sued the feds before his death (and won), was from Parowan, the next town over from mine. His son is Blue Dog Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT). And the reason it took so long to hold the government accountable was that the government was considered legally immune, and first Utah had to win the right to challenge the feds in court.

    BTW, our federal government learned so much from their experience with nuclear testing and the Downwinders that they recently proposed more tests at the Nevada Test Site. Divine Strake was supposed to have been undertaken last year and this. It would have been a series of the largest conventional explosions ever detonated– in highly radioactive soil at the test site. That’s how much the feds have reformed, and how much they care about the people they represent. A coalition of western lawmakers with a lot of public support managed (at the last moment) to get Divine Strake cancelled.

    As for health care, I’ve believed for years that health care should be trusted to nonprofit provider/payer organizations. The Kaiser model in which the provider IS the payer, works better than anything else I’ve seen. It’s less prone to the abuses of government, and it has no profit motive.

    I was with Kaiser for five years, and greatly miss it. The actually encouraged me to undergo an expensive treatment– they charged me $125 a month for $5K worth of medications, two rounds (the first was unsuccessful) for a total of 13 months. My dream is, Kaiser (as an option) for everyone.

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