Fate of Cu, Cr, As and some other trace elements during combustion of recovered waste fuels

Detta är en avhandling från Umeå : Tillämpad fysik och elektronik

Sammanfattning: The increased use of biomass and recovered waste fuels in favor of fossil fuels for heat and power production is an important step towards a sustainable future. Combustion of waste fuels also offers several advantages over traditional landfilling, such as substantial volume reduction, detoxification of pathological wastes, and reduction of toxic leaches and greenhouse gas (methane) formation from landfills. However, combustion of recovered waste fuels emits more harmful trace elements than combustion of other fuels. These elements are distributed between bottom ash, fly ash and flue gas, depending on the elements partitioning and enrichment behavior. Volatilized harmful trace elements are mainly enriched in the submicron fly ash fraction. If emitted to the atmosphere, submicron particles can penetrate deep into the alveoli of the lungs, causing severe impacts on human health. Consequently, to reduce ash related problems and to control the emissions to the atmosphere, there is an increased need for understanding the physicochemical processes involved in ash transformation, including particle formation.The objective of this thesis was to carefully and systematically study the fate of trace elements during combustion, i.e. the chemical form of the elements and the partitioning behavior, by means of chemical equilibrium model calculations, X-ray diffraction, microscopy techniques and various spectroscopy methods. The influence of some fuel additives was also analyzed. Primarily, the elements copper, chromium and arsenic were studied.An initial review and evaluation of the content of thermodynamical data in commercial thermochemical databases used for chemical equilibrium model calculations showed that there was a significant difference in number of included phases and species between databases. Thermodynamical data also differed between databases, although in general less for condensed phases than for gaseous species. A state-of-the-art database for Cu, Cr and As was compiled and used for further chemical equilibrium model calculations. The fate of Cu, Cr and As was determined in combustion experiments on wood impregnated with copper, chromium and arsenic (CCA) in a bench scale reactor (15 kW). The results showed that global chemical equilibrium model calculations predicted the overall fate of Cu, Cr and As in bottom ash and ash particles quite well. However, compared to the experimental results the global model overpredicted the formation of refractory calcium arsenates, thus the arsenic volatilization was found to be higher then the predicted volatilization. In terms of chromium volatility, copper was found to be an important refractory element forming stable CuCrO2(s) and CuCr2O4(s) that suppressed the formation of CrO2(OH)2(g). The retention and speciation of Cu, Cr and As in bottom ash was further determined from combustion experiments of CCA wood fuel particles in a single particle reactor. Local chemical equilibrium model calculations were performed to simulate the combustion stages of a burning CCA treated wood fuel particle: drying, devolatilization, char burning and post-combustion. The results from the work showed that a mix of global and local chemical equilibrium model calculations is needed to describe the reality and that the combustion stages are partially overlapping. The fate of harmful trace elements, including Cu, Cr and As, was finally studied in full scale (65 MW) combustion experiments. Particles from the raw flue gas emissions were sampled and analyzed. The comparison with chemical equilibrium model calculations showed that the model explained the results well, but due to lack of thermodynamic data for K2ZnCl4(s), the formation of this phase could not be predicted.

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