Distribution of rare earth elements in PM10 emitted from burning coals and soil-mixed coal briquettes


Cong Hou , Longyi Shao , Lingli Chang , Robert B. Finkelman , Wenhua Wang , Junxia Liu , Jie Li , Jiaoping Xing

DOI:10.1016/j.jes.2020.05.010

Received December 23, 2019,Revised , Accepted May 08, 2020, Available online June 07, 2020

Volume 32,2020,Pages 96-101

Emission from burning coals is one of the major sources of the airborne particles in China. We carried out a study on the rare earth elements (REEs) in the inhalable particulate matter (PM10) emitted from burning coals and soil-coal honeycomb briquettes with different volatile contents and ash yields in a combustion-dilution system. Gravimetric analysis indicates that the equivalent mass concentration of the PM10 emitted from burning the coals is higher than that emitted from burning the briquettes. The ICP-MS analysis indicates that the contents of total REEs in the coal-burning PM10 are lower than those in the briquette-burning PM10. In addition, the contents of the light rare earth elements (LREEs) are higher than those of the heavy rare earth elements (HREEs) in the PM10 emitted from burning the coals and briquettes, demonstrating that the REEs in both the coal-burning and briquette-burning PM10 are dominated by LREEs. The higher contents of total REEs and LREEs in the coal-burning PM10 are associated with the higher ash yields and lower volatile contents in the raw coals. A comparative analysis indicates that the La/Sm ratios in the PM10 emitted from burning the coals and briquettes, being lower than 2, are lower than those in the particles from gasoline-powered vehicle emission.

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