Emission and transformation behavior of minerals and hazardous trace elements (HTEs) during coal combustion in a circulating fluidized bed boiler

Biao Fu, Guijian Liu, Mei Sun, James C. Hower, Md Manik Mian, Dun Wu, Ruwei Wang, Guangqing Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Emission of hazardous trace elements (HTEs) from energy production is receiving much attention due to concerns about the toxicity to the ecosystem and human health. This study presented new field measurement data on the HTEs partitioning behavior and size-segregated elemental compositions of gaseous particular matter (PM) generated from a commercial circulating fluidized bed (CFB) power plant. Mineralogical and morphological characteristics of combustion ash and PM2.5 (particle diameter less than 2.5 μm) were determined by X-ray diffractometer (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDS). Functional groups alteration during CFB combustion was characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The presence of aliphatic hydrogen at 2910 cm−1 and 2847 cm−1 in the PM2.5 suggested that the aliphatic carbon-rich volatiles were absorbed on the fine particles with large surface area. Fine fly ash (PM2.5) occurred as irregular glass particles or/and as unburned carbon. The typical irregular particles were mainly composed of Al-Si-Ca or Al-Si-Fe phases. The enrichment behavior of HTEs was determined for the airborne size-segregated particular matter. Elemental occurrences, combustion temperature, unburnt carbon, and limestone additives during CFB combustion were critical in the transformation behavior of HTEs. The total potentially mobile pollutants that exit the CFB power plant every year were estimated as follows: 0.22 tons of Cr, 0.12 tons of Co, 0.73 tons of Ni, 0.04 tons of As, 0.07 tons of Se, 3.95 kg of Cd, and 3.34 kg of Sb. Emission characteristics and migration behavior of minerals and HTEs during CFB combustion were demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1950-1960
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
StatePublished - Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The project was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NO. 41672144 ), the Nature Science research project of Anhui Province ( 1408085MB29 ) and the National Key R&D Program of China ( 2016YFC0201600 ). We wish to thank the eitor and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions and comments that greatly improve the research. Special thanks are extended to the technicians from Hefei Thermal power plant for their assistance in data collection and sampling work.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • Circulating fluidized bed
  • Fine particles
  • Hazardous trace elements
  • Transformation behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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