Atmospheric mercury emissions from waste combustions measured by continuous monitoring devices

Fumitake Takahashi, Takayuki Shimaoka, Akiko Kida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Atmospheric mercury emissions have attracted great attention owing to adverse impact of mercury on human health and the ecosystem. Although waste combustion is one of major anthropogenic sources, estimated emission might have large uncertainty due to great heterogeneity of wastes. This study investigated atmospheric emissions of speciated mercury from the combustions of municipal solid wastes (MSW), sewage treatment sludge (STS), STS with waste plastics, industrial waste mixtures (IWM), waste plastics from construction demolition, and woody wastes using continuous monitoring devices. Reactive gaseous mercury was the major form at the inlet side of air pollution control devices in all combustion cases. Its concentration was 2.0-70.6 times larger than elemental mercury concentration. In particular, MSW, STS, and IWM combustions emitted higher concentration of reactive gaseous mercury. Concentrations of both gaseous mercury species varied greatly for all waste combustions excluding woody waste. Variation coefficients of measured data were nearly equal to or more than 1.0. Emission factors of gaseous elemental mercury, reactive gaseous mercury, and total mercury were calculated using continuous monitoring data. Total mercury emission factors are 0.30 g-Hg/Mg for MSW combustion, 0.21 g-Hg/Mg for STS combustion, 0.077 g-Hg/Mg for STS with waste plastics, 0.724 g-Hg/Mg for industrial waste mixtures, 0.028 g-Hg/Mg for waste plastic combustion, and 0.0026 g-Hg/Mg for woody waste combustion. All emission factors evaluated in this study were comparable or lower than other reported data. Emission inventory using old emission factors likely causes an overestimation. Although waste combustion is one of major anthropogenic sources of atmospheric mercury emission, estimated emission might have large uncertainty due to great heterogeneity of wastes. This study investigated speciated mercury emissions from the combustions of municipal solid wastes, sewage treatment sludge with/without waste plastics, industrial waste mixtures, waste plastics from construction demolition, and woody wastes using continuous monitoring devices. Reactive gaseous mercury was the major form in all combustion cases and its concentration in the gas had large fluctuation. All emission factors evaluated in this study were comparable or lower than other reported data. Emission inventory using old emission factors likely causes an overestimation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)686-695
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Air and Waste Management Association
Volume62
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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