The U.S. economy's heavy reliance on coal has been a hot-button issue during this election year. As President Barack Obama looks to alternative energy as a way to counter coal's negative impact on the environment, his opponent Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has vowed more support for the coal industry. As the second largest producer of coal around the world, the U.S. has ample access to the energy source. The U.S. produces over a billion tons of coal each year, and nearly half of U.S. electricity is generated from coal. The drawback, however, is the environmental footprint that coal production leaves behind.
Coal-fired electric power plants generate in excess of 150 million tons of fly ash annually, representing the second largest industrial waste stream in the nation. Coal ash is filled with heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, lead and selenium. This, combined with the growing amount of solid waste produced by an expanding population, creates an unsustainable situation.
Enter IBAgreen (PIEX). The company, with its its patented proprietary process, is betting that it can use the toxic ash to manufacture commercially viable construction products like a superior alternative to Portland cement, fluidized thermal backfill for roads, and precast concrete products. The nanotechnology allows the concrete products to be manufactured in such a way that they are not permeable to water or moisture, which is the chief factor for deterioration of the nation’s infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and buildings.
The company uses nanotechnology to fundamentally change the molecular structure of IBA to neutralize any toxic chemical contamination. The company says its chemical stabilization process enables it to manufacture products that meet and exceed industry performance specifications and exceed environmental standards such as the U.S. EPA 1311 TCLP, allowing the materials to be used commercially.
IBAgreen’s strategy provides significant benefits in a multitude of ways. The most obvious is the ability to turn toxic waste material into reusable products, finding productive and constructive uses for materials that would otherwise do more harm than good to the environment.
Another huge advantage is the removal of actual IBA out of the landfill storage system, increasing capacity and the overall lifespan of landfills. IBA, in and of itself, is harmful. Bottom ash, when gathered in large quantities, heats up and burns through landfill liners, leaking out into the aquifer or nearby bodies of water.
In addition, IBAgreen’s core strategy of manufacturing products on site at waste-to-energy plants also is designed to maximize the positive impacts of its business. Given that most waste-to-energy plants are located in densely populated urban areas, the company anticipates that it can help to create more jobs at a time when jobs are desperately needed, and especially in areas that need them most.
The growth potential for IBAgreen is seemingly as unlimited as the benefits the company brings, both economically and environmentally. Besides eliminating pollution and chemicals in the environment and making products with longer life spans, it’s also creating jobs for the economy as well. The company’s scope isn’t limited to the U.S. either, as international governments have already taken notice of the near-term and long-term benefits the company can provide. As long as the world continues to produce trash, and people continue to need roads and buildings, there will always be a demand for what IBAgreen is bringing to the table.