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Concept: Flue gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion


This study aimed to determine the content of fossil carbon in waste combusted in Sweden by using four different methods at seven geographically spread combustion plants. In total, the measurement campaign included 42 solid samples, 21 flue gas samples, 3 sorting analyses and 2 investigations using the balance method. The fossil carbon content in the solid samples and in the flue gas samples was determined using (14)C-analysis. From the analyses it was concluded that about a third of the carbon in mixed Swedish waste (municipal solid waste and industrial waste collected at Swedish industry sites) is fossil. The two other methods (the balance method and calculations from sorting analyses), based on assumptions and calculations, gave similar results in the plants in which they were used. Furthermore, the results indicate that the difference between samples containing as much as 80% industrial waste and samples consisting of solely municipal solid waste was not as large as expected. Besides investigating the fossil content of the waste, the project was also established to investigate the usability of various methods. However, it is difficult to directly compare the different methods used in this project because besides the estimation of emitted fossil carbon the methods provide other information, which is valuable to the plant owner. Therefore, the choice of method can also be controlled by factors other than direct determination of the fossil fuel emissions when considering implementation in the combustion plants.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Petroleum, Fossil fuel, Waste, Flue gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion


This article reports on the synthesis and characterization of porous nitrogen-doped carbons synthesized by carbonization of coconut shell followed by urea modification and K2CO3 activation. The as-synthesized samples were carefully characterized by various techniques. This series of samples demonstrate high CO2 uptake at 1bar, up to 3.71mmol/g at 25°C in addition to 5.12mmol/g at 0°C. Furthermore, these sorbents possess fast CO2 adsorption kinetics, stable reusability, moderate heat of CO2 adsorption, reasonable CO2/N2 selectivity, and high dynamic CO2 capture capacity under simulated flue gas conditions. It is found that, in addition to nitrogen content and narrow micropore volume, the pore size distribution of narrow micropore also plays a major role in determining the CO2 capture capacity under ambient condition. This work is intended to provide useful information and to inspire ways to develop new carbonaceous sorbents for removing CO2 from combustion flue gas.

Concepts: Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Nitrogen, Carbon, Urea, Furnace, Combustion, Flue gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion


A growing body of research suggests exposure to high levels of outdoor air pollution may negatively affect cognitive functioning in older adults, but less is known about the link between indoor sources of air pollution and cognitive functioning. We examine the association between exposure to indoor air pollution and cognitive function among older adults in Mexico, a developing country where combustion of biomass for domestic energy remains common.

Concepts: Psychology, Cognition, Knowledge, Air pollution, Association of Ideas, Cruise ship pollution, Air Quality Index, Flue gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion


Due to the high cost of pure CO2, carbonation of MSWI fly ash has not been fully developed. It is essential to select a kind of reaction gas with rich CO2 instead of pure CO2. The CO2 uptake and leaching toxicity of heavy metals in three typical types of municipal solid waste incinerator (MSWI) fly ash were investigated with simulated oxy-fuel combustion flue gas under different reaction temperatures, which was compared with both pure CO2 and simulated air combustion flue gas. The CO2 uptake under simulated oxy-fuel combustion flue gas were similar to that of pure CO2. The leaching concentration of heavy metals in all MSWI fly ash samples, especially in ash from Changzhou, China (CZ), decreased after carbonation. Specifically, the leached Pb concentration of the CZ MSWI fly ash decreased 92% under oxy-fuel combustion flue gas, 95% under pure CO2 atmosphere and 84% under the air combustion flue gas. After carbonation, the leaching concentration of Pb was below the Chinese legal limit. The leaching concentration of Zn from CZ sample decreased 69% under oxy-fuel combustion flue gas, which of Cu, As, Cr and Hg decreased 25%, 33%, 11% and 21%, respectively. In the other two samples of Xuzhou, China (XZ) and Wuhan, China (WH), the leaching characteristics of heavy metals were similar to the CZ sample. The speciation of heavy metals was largely changed from the exchangeable to carbonated fraction because of the carbonation reaction under simulated oxy-fuel combustion flue gas. After carbonation reaction, most of heavy metals bound in carbonates became more stable and leached less. Therefore, oxy-fuel combustion flue gas could be a low-cost source for carbonation of MSWI fly ash.

Concepts: Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Carbon, Lead, Heavy metal music, Carbonation, Furnace, Flue gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion


The objective of this study was to characterize parent polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (pPAHs) and their nitrated derivatives (NPAHs) in coarse (PM2.5-10), intermediate (PM1-2.5) and fine (PM1) particulate matters emitted from coal-fired power plants (CFPPs) in Huainan, China. The diagnostic ratios and the stable carbon isotopic approaches to characterize individual PAHs were applied in order to develop robust tools for tracing the origins of PAHs in different size-segregated particular matters (PMs) emitted CFPP coal combustion. The concentrations of PAH compounds in flue gas emissions varied greatly, depending on boiler types, operation and air pollution control device (APCD) conditions. Both pPAHs and NPAHs were strongly enriched in PM1-2.5 and PM1. In contrary to low molecular weight (LMW) PAHs, high molecular weight (HMW) PAHs were more enriched in finer PMs. The PAH diagnostic ratios in size-segregated PMs are small at most cases, highlighting their potential application in tracing CFPP emitted PAHs attached to different sizes of PMs. Yet, substantial uncertainty still exists to directly apply PAH diagnostic ratios as emission tracers. Although the stable carbon isotopic composition of PAH molecular was useful in differentiating coal combustion emissions from other sources such as biomass combustion and vehicular exhausts, it was not feasible to differentiate isotopic fractionation processes such as low-temperature carbonization, high-temperature carbonization, gasification and combustion.

Concepts: Carbon, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Coal, Air pollution, Boiler, Combustion, Flue gas, Flue gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion


Humans use combustion for heating and cooking, managing lands, and, more recently, for fuelling the industrial economy. As a shift to fossil-fuel-based energy occurs, we expect that anthropogenic biomass burning in open landscapes will decline as it becomes less fundamental to energy acquisition and livelihoods. Using global data on both fossil fuel and biomass burning emissions, we tested this relationship over a 14 year period (1997-2010). The global average annual carbon emissions from biomass burning during this time were 2.2 Pg C per year (±0.3 s.d.), approximately one-third of fossil fuel emissions over the same period (7.3 Pg C, ±0.8 s.d.). There was a significant inverse relationship between average annual fossil fuel and biomass burning emissions. Fossil fuel emissions explained 8% of the variation in biomass burning emissions at a global scale, but this varied substantially by land cover. For example, fossil fuel burning explained 31% of the variation in biomass burning in woody savannas, but was a non-significant predictor for evergreen needleleaf forests. In the land covers most dominated by human use, croplands and urban areas, fossil fuel emissions were more than 30- and 500-fold greater than biomass burning emissions. This relationship suggests that combustion practices may be shifting from open landscape burning to contained combustion for industrial purposes, and highlights the need to take into account how humans appropriate combustion in global modelling of contemporary fire. Industrialized combustion is not only an important driver of atmospheric change, but also an important driver of landscape change through companion declines in human-started fires.This article is part of the themed issue ‘The interaction of fire and mankind’.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Fossil fuel, Combustion, Global warming, Internal combustion engine, Landscape, Fuel, Flue gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion


A better understanding on the partitioning behavior of mercury (Hg) during coal combustion in large-scale coal-fired power plants is fundamental for drafting Hg-emission control regulations. Two large coal-fired utility boilers, equipped with electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) and a wet flue gas desulfurization (WFGD) system, respectively, in coal energy-dominant Huainan City, China, were selected to investigate the distribution and fate of Hg during coal combustion. In three sampling campaigns, we found that Hg in bottom ash was severely depleted with a relative enrichment (RE) index <7 %, whereas the RE index for fly ash (9-54 %) was comparatively higher and variable. Extremely high Hg was concentrated in gypsum (≤4500 ng/g), which is produced in the WFGD system. Mass balance calculation shows that the shares of Hg in bottom ash, fly ash, WFGD products (gypsum, effluents, sludge), and stack emissions were <2, 17-32, 7-22, and 54-82 %, respectively. The Hg-removal efficiencies of ESPs, WFGD, and ESPs + WFGD were 17-32, 10-29, and 36-46 %, respectively. The Hg-emission factor of studied boilers was in a high range of 0.24-0.29 g Hg/t coal. We estimated that Hg emissions in all Huainan coal-fired power plants varied from 1.8 Mg in 2003 to 7.3 Mg in 2010.

Concepts: Coal, Chemical engineering, Boiler, Furnace, Combustion, Fly ash, Flue gas, Flue gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion


Cobalt oxide loaded magnetospheres catalyst from fly ash (Co-MF catalyst) showed good mercury removal capacity and recyclability under air combustion flue gas in our previous study. In this work, the Hg0 removal behaviors as well as the involved reactions mechanism were investigated in oxyfuel combustion conditions. Further, the recyclability of Co-MF catalyst in oxyfuel combustion atmosphere was also evaluated. The results showed that the Hg0 removal efficiency in oxyfuel combustion conditions was relative high compared to that in air combustion conditions. The presence of enriched CO2 (70%) in oxyfuel combustion atmosphere assisted the mercury oxidation due to the oxidation of function group of C-O formed from CO2. Under both atmospheres, the mercury removal efficiency decreased with the addition of SO2, NO, and H2O. However, the enriched CO2 in oxyfuel combustion atmosphere could somewhat weaken the inhibition of SO2, NO, and H2O. The multiple capture-regeneration cycles demonstrated that the Co-MF catalyst also present good regeneration performance in oxyfuel combustion atmosphere.

Concepts: Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxide, Atmosphere, Furnace, Flue gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion


We compare the performance of an Alternative Method based on portable FTIR described in TGN M22, Measuring Stack Gas Emissions using FTIR Instruments to the Standard Reference Methods for CO (EN 15058), NOx (EN 14792), SO2 (EN 14791), HCl (EN 1911) and H2O (EN 14790). Testing was carried out using a Stack Simulator facility generating complex gas matrices of the measurands across concentration ranges of, 0 - 75 mg.m(-3) and 0 - 100 mg.m(-3) CO, 0 - 200 mg.m(-3) and 0 - 300 mg.m(-3) NO, 0 - 75 mg.m(-3) and 0 - 200 mg.m(-3) SO2, 0 - 15 mg.m(-3) and 0 - 60 mg.m(-3) HCl, 0 - 14 %vol H2O. The former being the required monitoring range for each measurand as described in the EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive (2010/75/EU) for waste incineration processes whilst the latter supplementary ranges being representative of emissions from some large combustion plant processes. Test data were treated in accordance with CEN/TS 14793 and it was found that equivalency test criteria could be met across all concentration ranges with the exception of the NO supplementary range. The results demonstrated in principle where TGN M22/FTIR could be used in place of the existing SRMs to provide, as required under the Industrial Emissions Directive, annual validation/calibration of Automated Measuring Systems (AMSs being permanently installed on industrial stacks to provide continuous monitoring of emissions to air). These data take a step towards the wider regulatory acceptance of portable FTIR providing the advantages of real-time calibration and quantification of all measurands on a single technique. Implication Statement Portable FTIR offers significant advantages for the calibration (as is required by the EU’s Industrial Emissions Directive - 2010/75/EU) of process plant operators instrumentation installed for continuous monitoring of emissions to air. All key gaseous emission species regulated under the directive can be calibrated using a single technique and the real-time calibration data allows issues with plant instrumentation to be identified sooner, reducing the amount of time where unreliable emissions data might be reported from the plant. The presented work takes an important step towards the regulatory acceptance of portable FTIR for the validation/calibration of in-situ emissions monitoring systems.

Concepts: European Union, Measurement, Metrology, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Smog, Air pollution, Hazardous air pollutants, Flue gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion


To investigate the application prospect of MSW oxy-enriched incineration technology in China, the technical and economical analyses of a municipal solid waste (MSW) grate furnace with oxy-fuel incineration technology in comparison to co-incineration with coal are performed. The rated capacity of the grate furnace is 350tonnes MSW per day. When raw MSW is burned, the amount of pure oxygen injected should be about 14.5wt.% under 25% O2 oxy-fuel combustion conditions with the mode of oxygen supply determined by the actual situation. According to the isothermal combustion temperature (Ta), the combustion effect of 25% O2 oxy-enriched incineration (α=1.43) is identical with that of MSW co-incineration with 20% mass ratio of coal (α=1.91). However, the former is better than the latter in terms of plant cost, flue gas loss, and environmental impact. Despite the lower costs of MSW co-incineration with mass ratio of 5% and 10% coal (α=1.91), 25% O2 oxy-enriched incineration (α=1.43) is far more advantageous in combustion and pollutant control. Conventional combustion flue gas loss (q2) for co-incineration with 0% coal, 20% coal, 10% coal, 5% coal are around 17%, 13%, 14% and 15%, respectively, while that under the condition of 25% O2 oxy-enriched combustion is approximately 12% (α=1.43). Clearly, q2 of oxy-enriched incineration is less than other methods under the same combustion conditions. High moisture content presents challenges for MSW incineration, therefore it is necessary to dry MSW prior to incineration, and making oxy-enriched incineration technology achieves higher combustion temperature and lower flue gas loss. In conclusion, based on technical and economical analysis, MSW oxy-enriched incineration retains obvious advantages and demonstrates great future prospects for MSW incineration in China.

Concepts: Oxygen, Gas, Boiler, Furnace, Combustion, Waste-to-energy, Flue gas, Flue gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion