In this study, ash samples were collected from five locations situated in the boiler of a circulating fluidised bed municipal solid waste incinerator (high- and low-temperature superheater, evaporator tubes and upper and lower economiser). These samples represent a huge range of flue gas temperatures and were characterised for their particle size distribution, surface characteristics, elemental composition, chemical forms of carbon and chlorine and distribution of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDD), dibenzofurans (PCDF) and biphenyls (PCB). Enrichment of chlorine, one of the main elements of organochlorinated pollutants, and copper, zinc and lead, major catalytic metals for dioxin-like compounds, was observed in lower-temperature ash deposits. The speciation of carbon and chlorine on ash surfaces was established, showing a positive correlation between organic chlorine and oxygen-containing carbon functional groups. The load of PCDD/F and PCB (especially dioxin-like PCB) tends to rise rapidly with falling temperature of flue gas, reaching their highest value in economiser ashes. The formation of PCDD/F congeners through the chlorophenol precursor route apparently was enhanced downstream the boiler. Principal component analysis (PCA) was applied to study the links between the ash characteristics and distribution of chloro-aromatics. The primary purpose of this study is improving the understanding of any links between the characteristics of ash from waste heat systems and its potential to form PCDD/F and PCB. The question is raised whether further characterisation of fly ash may assist to establish a diagnosis of poor plant operation, inclusive the generation, destruction and eventual emission of persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
Environmental Science and Pollution Research – Springer Journals
Published: May 31, 2018
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