Mercury emission behavior during isolated coal particle combustion
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Of all the trace elements emitted during coal combustion, mercury is most problematic. Mercury from the atmosphere enters into oceanic and terrestrial waters. Part of the inorganic Hg in water is converted into organic Hg (CH3Hg), which is toxic and bioaccumulates in human and animal tissue. The largest source of human-caused mercury air emissions in the U.S is from combustion coal, a dominant fuel used for power generation. The Hg emitted from plants primarily occurs in two forms: elemental Hg and oxidized Hg (Hg2+). The coal chlorine content and ash composition, gas temperature, residence time and presence of different gases will decide the speciation of Hg into Hg0 and Hg2+. For Wyoming coal the concentrations of mercury and chlorine in coal are 120ppb and 140ppb. In order to understand the basic process of formulation of HgCl2 and Hg0 a numerical model is developed in the current work to simulate in the detail i) heating ii) transient pyrolysis of coal and evolution of mercury and chlorine, iii) gas phase oxidation iv) reaction chemistry of Hg and v) heterogeneous oxidation of carbon during isolated coal particle combustion. The model assumes that mercury and chlorine are released as a part of volatiles in the form of elemental mercury and HCl. Homogenous reaction are implemented for the oxidation of mercury. Heterogeneous Hg reactions are ignored. The model investigates the effect of different parameters on the extent of mercury oxidation; particle size, ambient temperature, volatile matter, blending coal with high chlorine coal and feedlot biomass etc,. Mercury oxidation is increased when the coal is blended with feedlot biomass and high chlorine coal and Hg % conversion to HgCl2 increased from 10% to 90% when 20% FB is blended with coal. The ambient temperature has a negative effect on mercury oxidation, an increase in ambient temperature resulted in a decrease in the mercury oxidation. The percentage of oxidized mercury increases from 9% to 50% when the chlorine concentration is increased from 100ppm to 1000ppm. When the temperature is decreased from 1950 K to 950 K, the percentage of mercury oxidized increased from 3% to 27%.
Puchakayala, Madhu Babu (2006). Mercury emission behavior during isolated coal particle combustion. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from