Essay Mercury Emissions

Essay Mercury Emissions

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Even with the current advancements in the development of mercury control technologies, there is no single best way of controlling mercury emissions that can be applied across all electric utility plants in the US. Based on the available mercury control technologies, the cost of removal of mercury is estimated to range as high as $11,000 to $150,000 per kg ($5000 to $70,000 per pound)[17] and adding up to $0.005 per kW-h to power cost.
Control of mercury emissions from coal-fired boiler flue gas is much more challenging problem due the low Mercury concentrations in utility boiler flue gas (typically 0.01 vs. 100+ ppm) and the chemical speciation of mercury in to different physical forms. An understanding of the physical and chemical apportionment of mercury in the system is essential in development and deployment of control systems. There are a number of currently available control technologies that coal-fired power plants use to reduce their emissions of mercury to the atmosphere. The effectiveness of these technologies for mercury removal varies, depending on characteristics of the coal and the configuration of the power plant.
In general, two approaches can be adapted to reducing mercury emissions from coal-fired utility boilers: pollution prevention and post combustion pollution control. Pollution prevention, in some cases, involves commercially available technologies, which do not require capital investment. Many of the conventional post combustion control technologies used on coal-fired power plants to control SO2, and PM have the co-benefit of reducing Hg emissions. A combination of some of these control devices can achieve high (above 95%) mercury control. Coal cleaning can reduce the Hg content of the coal fired...


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...candidate that has been shown to oxidize >95 percent of elemental mercury in pilot-scale testing.[21] Iron oxides, Fe2O3 and Fe3O4 in fly ash, have been shown to promote mercury oxidation.[23, 24] While fly ash seems to promote mercury oxidation, studies have shown that only a small amount of the active surface area (1 to 3 percent) plays a role in the process.[25, 26] Fe2O3 has also been used as an effective catalyst in small-scale systems.[27, 28] Two components of refractory, Al2O3 and TiO2, have been shown to oxidize a portion of elemental mercury.[29, 30] Other metal catalysts shown to promote mercury oxidation include iridium[31], MnO2 [28], and CuO.[28] Photochemical oxidation of mercury using ultraviolet irradiation, with particular promise in the presence of TiO2, is another emerging technology being investigated for use in coal-fired power plants.[32-35]

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