Coal fly ash has been recognised as suitable feedstock for zeolite synthesis, and with this discovery, there has been much literature produced over the years on various synthesis processes with a view to address the disposal problems associated with fly ash wastes. The different synthesis processes can be divided into a pre‐synthesis activation with an alkali solution and a hydrothermal synthesis of heating the resulting aluminosilicate gel. However, the challenge lies in up scaling the synthesis to allow production on a commercial scale. The most common pre‐synthesis involving high‐temperature fusion of fly ash with sodium hydroxide may not be feasible in an economic context, given that a large‐scale furnace that would be needed. In this review, the successes recorded in the application of acoustic cavitation by using ultrasonication technique were discussed as a possible alternative to the fusion process on one hand. On the other hand, jet‐loop reactor system provides hydrodynamic cavitation, which may be relatively scalable compared to ultrasonication and may offer an economic advantage, if systematically explored, over fusion process for large‐scale synthesis of zeolites. It is also recommended that agitation is critical during the crystallisation process and the suitability of an impeller type that offers a minimum shearing to be explored during the hydrothermal process with respect to quality and yield of the zeolite produced. The understanding gleaned from these recommendations may be useful in designing an appropriate scale‐up operation for zeolite synthesis from coal fly ash.
Part of the book: Zeolites