Effects of temperature and SO3 on re-emission of mercury from activated carbon under flue gas conditions

Michael Royko , Benjamin Galloway , Noah D. Meeks , Bihter Padak


Received June 21, 2018,Revised , Accepted October 23, 2018, Available online October 30, 2018

Volume 31,2019,Pages 67-73

Mercury (Hg) is a toxic and bio-accumulating heavy metal that is predominantly released via the combustion of coal. Due to its toxicity, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has introduced Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) Rule regarding allowable Hg emissions. In order to reduce emissions, power plants have widely adopted activated carbon (AC) injection. AC injection has proven to be an effective method to reduce Hg emissions, but the re-emission of previously adsorbed Hg during unit operation, likely due to changing temperature or flue gas composition, could be problematic. This study specifically examined the effects of temperature and sulfur trioxide (SO3) concentration, by ramping temperature and SO3 concentration independently and simultaneously, on AC samples that are already exposed to flue gas and saturated in presence of Hg, sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitric oxide (NO). Of these two suspected factors to cause re-emission, temperature had the greater impact and resulted in re-emission of both elemental and oxidized Hg with a greater fraction of oxidized Hg, which can be attributed to elemental Hg being more strongly bonded to the AC surface. Surprisingly, exposing the samples to increasing concentrations of SO3 had nearly no effect under the conditions examined in this study, possibly as a result of the samples being already saturated with sulfur prior to the SO3 ramp tests to simulate transient conditions in the plant.

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