News & Features

PhD Student Trevor Williamson Receives ACAA Scholarship

photo of Trevor Williamson

 February 19, 2016

PhD candidate Trevor Williamson was selected to receive honors and a cash prize from the American Coal Ash Association Educational Foundation for his interests in advancing the sustainable and environmentally responsible use of coal combustion products (CCPs).

Williamson will receive a $5000 scholarship that was named in honor of David C. Goss, a former Executive Director of ACAA who was instrumental in establishing the Educational Foundation.

He was chosen from a field of applicants who submitted essays on topics related to the beneficial use of coal combustion products, which are materials produced when coal is burned to generate electricity.

The disposal of CCPs is costly for electric utilities, particularly in the face of new EPA regulations. Additionally, CCP landfilling is detrimental to the environment because it requires land use for disposal sites, and risks soil and groundwater contamination by leachate. Investment in the right technologies, however, can turn these materials from a nuisance into a valued resource.

The concrete industry currently accounts for the majority of CCP reuse, where fly ash is used as a partial replacement of portland cement. While typical replacement levels in ordinary concrete are about 25%, inorganic polymer concrete (IPC) provides an exciting possibility for substantially increasing CCP reuse by replacing 100% of cement with fly ash while achieving superior engineering properties in comparison to ordinary concrete.

Williamson’s research seeks to transform our ability to use IPC by advancing our understanding of the basic chemistry that controls its property development. He is supervised by Dr. Maria Juenger and is a graduate research assistant at the Laboratory for Infrastructure Materials Engineering.