Mercury in coal and the impact of coal quality on mercury emissions from combustion systems

Applied Geochemistry
By: , and 



The proportion of Hg in coal feedstock that is emitted by stack gases of utility power stations is a complex function of coal chemistry and properties, combustion conditions, and the positioning and type of air pollution control devices employed. Mercury in bituminous coal is found primarily within Fe-sulfides, whereas lower rank coal tends to have a greater proportion of organic-bound Hg. Preparation of bituminous coal to reduce S generally reduces input Hg relative to in-ground concentrations, but the amount of this reduction varies according to the fraction of Hg in sulfides and the efficiency of sulfide removal. The mode of occurrence of Hg in coal does not directly affect the speciation of Hg in the combustion flue gas. However, other constituents in the coal, notably Cl and S, and the combustion characteristics of the coal, influence the species of Hg that are formed in the flue gas and enter air pollution control devices. The formation of gaseous oxidized Hg or particulate-bound Hg occurs post-combustion; these forms of Hg can be in part captured in the air pollution control devices that exist on coal-fired boilers, without modification. For a given coal type, the capture efficiency of Hg by pollution control systems varies according to type of device and the conditions of its deployment. For bituminous coal, on average, more than 60% of Hg in flue gas is captured by fabric filter (FF) and flue-gas desulfurization (FGD) systems. Key variables affecting performance for Hg control include Cl and S content of the coal, the positioning (hot side vs. cold side) of the system, and the amount of unburned C in coal ash. Knowledge of coal quality parameters and their effect on the performance of air pollution control devices allows optimization of Hg capture co-benefit. 

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Mercury in coal and the impact of coal quality on mercury emissions from combustion systems
Series title Applied Geochemistry
DOI 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2006.08.001
Volume 21
Issue 11
Year Published 2006
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Description 16 p.
First page 1821
Last page 1836
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