Regular articles

Distribution and leaching characteristics of trace elements in ashes as a function of different waste fuels and incineration technologies

Mattias Bäckström , Naeem Saqib


Received December 23, 2014,Revised March 17, 2015, Accepted March 20, 2015, Available online June 19, 2015

Volume 36,2015,Pages 9-21

Impact of waste fuels (virgin/waste wood, mixed biofuel (peat, bark, wood chips) industrial, household, mixed waste fuel) and incineration technologies on partitioning and leaching behavior of trace elements has been investigated. Study included 4 grate fired and 9 fluidized boilers. Results showed that mixed waste incineration mostly caused increased transfer of trace elements to fly ash; particularly Pb/Zn. Waste wood incineration showed higher transfer of Cr, As and Zn to fly ash as compared to virgin wood. The possible reasons could be high input of trace element in waste fuel/change in volatilization behavior due to addition of certain waste fractions. The concentration of Cd and Zn increased in fly ash with incineration temperature. Total concentration in ashes decreased in order of Zn > Cu > Pb > Cr > Sb > As > Mo. The concentration levels of trace elements were mostly higher in fluidized boilers fly ashes as compared to grate boilers (especially for biofuel incineration). It might be attributed to high combustion efficiency due to pre-treatment of waste in fluidized boilers. Leaching results indicated that water soluble forms of elements in ashes were low with few exceptions. Concentration levels in ash and ash matrix properties (association of elements on ash particles) are crucial parameters affecting leaching. Leached amounts of Pb, Zn and Cr in > 50% of fly ashes exceeded regulatory limit for disposal. 87% of chlorine in fly ashes washed out with water at the liquid to solid ratio 10 indicating excessive presence of alkali metal chlorides/alkaline earths.

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