Metal distribution characteristic of MSWI bottom ash in view of metal recovery

Yi Xia , Pinjing He , Liming Shao , Hua Zhang


Received January 02, 2016,Revised April 28, 2016, Accepted April 28, 2016, Available online May 21, 2016

Volume 29,2017,Pages 178-189

Bottom ash is the major by-product of municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI), and is often reused as an engineering material, such as road-base aggregate. However, some metals (especially aluminum) in bottom ash can react with water and generate gas that could cause expansion and failure of products containing the ash; these metals must be removed before the ash is utilized. The size distribution and the chemical speciation of metals in the bottom ash from two Chinese MSWI plants were examined in this study, and the recovery potential of metals from the ash was evaluated. The metal concentrations in these bottom ashes were lower than that generated in other developed countries. Specifically, the contents of Al, Fe, Cu and Zn were 18.9–29.2, 25.5–32.3, 0.7–1.0 and 1.6–2.5 g/kg, respectively. Moreover, 44.9–57.0 wt.% of Al and 55.6–75.4 wt.% of Fe were distributed in bottom ash particles smaller than 5 mm. Similarly, 46.6–79.7 wt.% of Cu and 42.9–74.2 wt.% of Zn were concentrated in particles smaller than 3 mm. The Fe in the bottom ash mainly existed as hematite, and its chemical speciation was considered to limit the recovery efficiency of magnetic separation.

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