A process for treating fly ash to render it highly usable as a concrete additive. A quantity of fly ash is obtained that contains carbon and which is considered unusable fly ash for concrete based upon foam index testing. The fly ash is mixed with a quantity of spray dryer ash (SDA) and water to initiate a geopolymerization reaction and form a geopolymerized fly ash. The geopolymerized fly ash is granulated. The geopolymerized fly ash is considered usable fly ash for concrete according to foam index testing. The geopolymerized fly ash may have a foam index less than 40%, and in some cases less than 20%, of the foam index of the untreated fly ash. An optional alkaline activator may be mixed with the fly ash and SDA to facilitate the geopolymerization reaction. The alkaline activator may contain an alkali metal hydroxide, carbonate, silicate, aluminate, or mixtures thereof.
This invention was made in part with government support under grant number DE-FG02-05ER84197 awarded by the United States Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.