The study of partitioning of heavy metals during fluidized bed combustion of sewage sludge and coal

I. Gulyurtlu, Helena Lopes, P. Abelha, I. Cabrita, J. F.Santos Oliveira

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12 Citations (Scopus)


The behavior of Cd, Cr, Cu, Co, Mn, Ni, Pb, Zn, and Hg during the combustion tests of a dry granular sewage sludge on a fluidized bed combustor pilot (FBC) of about 0.3 MW was evaluated. The emissions of these heavy metals from mono-combustion were compared with those of co-combustion of the sludge with a bituminous coal. The effect of the addition of limestone was also studied in order to retain sulphur compounds and to verify its influence on the retention of heavy metals (HM). Heavy metals were collected and analyzed from different locations of the installation, which included the stack, the two cyclones, and the material removed from thfe bed. The results showed that the volatility of metals was rather low, resulting in emissions below the legal limits of the new directive on incineration, with the exception of Hg during the mono-combustion tests. The partitioning of metals, except for Hg, appeared to follow that of ashes, amounting to levels above 90% in the bed streams in the mono-combustion case. For co-combustion, there was a lower fixation of HM in the bed ashes, mostly originating essentially from the sewage sludge, ranging between 40% and 80%. It is believed that in this latter case, a slightly higher temperature could have enhanced the volatilization, especially of Cd and Pb. However these metals were then retained in fly ashes captured in the cyclones. In the case of Hg, the volatilisation was complete. The bed ashes were free of Hg and part of Hg was retained in the cyclones and the rest was emitted either with fine ash particles or in gaseous forms. In mono-combustion the Hg emissions from the stack (particles and gas) accounted for about 50%, although there was a significant amount unaccounted for. This appeared to have significantly decreased in the case of co-combustion, as only about 15% has been emitted, due to the retention effect of cyclone ashes which presented high quantities of unburned matter, calcium and sulphur.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-110
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Energy Resources Technology, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2006


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