Potassic zeolites from Brazilian coal ash for use as a fertilizer in agriculture

Waste Manag. 2017 Dec;70:263-271. doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2017.08.039. Epub 2017 Sep 13.


Brazilian coal has an ash content ranging from 30 to 50% by weight. Consequently, its use in coal-fired thermoelectric for power production generates a lot of waste. The construction sector is the largest consumer of coal ash, but it cannot absorb the entire amount generated. Thus, other applications for coal ash should be studied in aim to optimize the use of this industrial waste. This research had as focus to synthesize potassic zeolite from of the coal ash into on potassium fertilizer for the grown wheat plant. In this work, it was used a subbituminous coal from Mina do Leão (RS, Brazil) presenting 48.7% ash content on a dry basis. Concerning the synthesis of potassic zeolite, it was adopted the conventional method of hydrothermal treatment with potassium hydroxide. A schedule of experiments was conducted in order to define the optimum condition of zeolite synthesis that was then used an alkaline solution of 5M KOH with a reaction time of 24h at 150°C. According to this procedure, it was obtained a zeolite with a single crystalline phase, identified through X-ray diffraction as Merlinoite. Subsequently, it was performed a set of tests using potassic zeolite asa fertilizer for plants in a greenhouse. The synthesized potassic zeolite showed a good potential for its use as fertilizer in agriculture.

Keywords: Agriculture; Coal ash; Fertilizer; Potassic zeolites.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Brazil
  • Coal Ash*
  • Fertilizers*
  • Potassium / chemistry*
  • Recycling / methods
  • Refuse Disposal / methods*
  • Zeolites*


  • Coal Ash
  • Fertilizers
  • Zeolites
  • Potassium