The purpose of this project was to design a circular system that follows a sustainable approach to plan and find effective ways of using coal ash waste as a useful resource material in ceramic production. The disposal of coal ash in ash ponds pollutes the land and contaminates the underground water, which adversely affects life both on land and in water. The idea was to convert coal ash into high-performance ceramic materials that circulate in the system at the highest utility. The newly designed material is safe and can replace around 60% of fresh raw materials with coal ash waste. It has improved workability and reduced the consumption of water. This lightweight material with improved strength and durability can be reused and recycled multiple times, extending the life cycle of resources. Supporting the existing press casting method, the suitable applications of the newly designed material ranges from making bricks or blocks for construction, lightweight tiles, creating green walls using them as membranes or containers. The products designed from the new material can have a positive impact and could bring in the transition to a circular economy by encouraging the use of waste as a resource material, create business opportunities for local companies, and vitalize the use of local materials to benefit the economy of the regions around the material source. The circular design could provide a collaborative platform to producers for responsible production and provide users with better sustainable choices with a sense of doing good for people and the planet.
Keywords: circular economy, coal ash, sustainability, system thinking, waste