Ukraine’s First Green Road: Bottom Ash as a Building Material

DTEK Energy has implemented a unique project – Ukraine’s first green road. The company has built a 900-meter road near the Burshtynska Thermal Power Plant using bottom ash, a product of coal combustion. The construction process is completely green. The project can pave the way for further infrastructure development and the use of ash as a substitute for traditional building materials.

The 900 meter-section of the road used 300 tons of dry and wet ash. The project cost 22 million UAH.

Substituting for traditional sand, the ash was used both in the base for bituminous-concrete surface and in the surface itself. The lower base layer contains 25% wet ash. The upper bituminous-concrete layer uses ash instead of the traditional mineral powder. Ash is much cheaper than the powder resulting in more cost-effective ‘ash roads’.

The construction involved scientists. Shulgin State Road Research Institute conducted research and testing of the ash in their own laboratory. The scientists concluded that bituminous-concretes on the basis of bottom ash are no worse than traditional ones.

Based on the recommendations of the Shulgin Institute, another state institution, Ukrdiprodor, developed a road construction project.

“DTEK Energy became the first company in Ukraine to build a road using bottom ash. Nine hundred meters is a small but extremely important step forward for national infrastructure,” explained Ildar Saleev, CEO of DTEK Energy, “This road is our experiment to effectively dispose of coal waste, build cheap and quality roads as well as improve the environment at the same time. DTEK Energy is an energy business becoming more green, efficient, and technological. The bottom ash road is among the first projects to showcase our transformation.”

Every year, 6-7 million tons of bottom ash waste are produced in Ukraine. As long as coal is the main energy source, the waste will be produced wherever coal fuelled TPPs operate.

In Europe, up to 92% of bottom ash is recycled. It is too early to discuss Ukrainian figures, but bottom ash materials are already successfully used in the production of cement, concrete, construction mixes, and now in road construction. The use of waste from some processes as raw materials for others is the main principle of the circular economy, necessary for sustainable development of countries and enterprises.

DTEK Energy views the processing of bottom ash materials as one of the important goals of its ESG strategy, based on the UN Global Compact principles.

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