Investigation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in fly ash from fluidized bed combustion systems

Kunlei Liu, Wei Xie, Zheng Bao Zhao, Wei Ping Pan, John T. Riley

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71 Scopus citations


A laboratory scale fluidized bed reactor and a bench scale 0.1 MW(th) fluidized bed combustor were used to study the effect of operating conditions on the formation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in fly ash from fluidized bed combustion systems. A high volatile bituminous coal was chosen to investigate PAH emissions during the entire pyrolysis to oxygen-rich combustion process. During the experiments, the fluidized bed reactor was operated at temperatures between 700°C and 900°C, while the excess air ratio was varied from 0 to 1.3. An extraction and GC/MS analysis of PAHs was used in this study. Approximately 40 different PAHs were identified during the tests, of which only a few are specified by the U.S. EPA. The experimental results indicate the majority of the PAHs in the solid phase (bed and fly ash) are derived from the breakdown reactions during the processes of combustion and/or pyrolysis in a Fluidized Bed Combustion (FBC) system, although FBC systems have an efficient solid-gas mixing process and relatively long residence time. The total amount of PAHs in the fly ash was much higher than that in the raw coal and in the gas phase. Three-and four- ring aromatic compounds were the major PAHs from pyrolysis conditions, while naphthalene (two-rings) is the dominant compound in bed ash collected from oxygen-rich combustion conditions. Only naphthalene was detected in the bed ash in the FBC system. High-speed secondary air (air staging) injected into the freeboard of the FBC system is an effective method for minimizing PAH emissions, along with the other benefits including minimizing NO(x) and SO(x) emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2273-2279
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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