Coal-derived activated carbons (CDACs) were tested for their suitability in removing trace amounts of vapor-phase mercury from simulated flue gases generated by coal combustion. CDACs were prepared in bench-scale and pilot-scale fluidized-bed reactors with a three-step process, including coal preoxidation, carbonization, and then steam activation. CDACs from high-organicsulfur Illinois coals had a greater equilibrium Hg0 adsorption capacity than activated carbons prepared from a low-organic-sulfur Illinois coal. When a low-organic-sulfur CDAC was impregnated with elemental sulfur at 600 ??C, its equilibrium Hg0 adsorption capacity was comparable to the adsorption capacity of the activated carbon prepared from the high-organicsulfur coal. X-ray diffraction and sulfur K-edge X-ray absorption near-edge structure examinations showed that the sulfur in the CDACs was mainly in organic forms. These results suggested that a portion of the inherent organic sulfur in the starting coal, which remained in the CDACs, played an important role in adsorption of Hg0. Besides organic sulfur, the BET surface area and micropore area of the CDACs also influenced Hg0 adsorption capacity. The HgCl2 adsorption capacity was not as dependent on the surface area and concentration of sulfur in the CDACs as was adsorption of Hg0. The properties and mercury adsorption capacities of the CDACs were compared with those obtained for commercial Darco FGD carbon.
Additional publication details
Preparation and evaluation of coal-derived activated carbons for removal of mercury vapor from simulated coal combustion flue fases