Mercury speciation and distribution in a 660-megawatt utility boiler in Taiwan firing bituminous coals

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Mercury speciation and distribution in a 660-MW tangential-fired utility boiler in Taiwan burning Australian and Chinese bituminous coal blends was investigated. Flue gases were simultaneously sampled at the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) inlet, the SCR outlet, the electrostatic precipitator (ESP) outlet, and the stack. Samplings of coal, lime, bottom ash/slag, fly ash, and gypsum slurry were also conducted. Results indicated that flue gases at the inlet to SCR contained a great potion of particlebound mercury (Hgp), 59–92% of the total mercury. Removal of mercury was not observed for the SCR system. However, repartitioning of mercury species across the SCR occurred that significantly increased the portion of elemental mercury (Hg0) to up to 29% and oxidized mercury (Hg2+) to up to 33% in the SCR outlet gas. Overreporting of Hgp at the inlet of SCR may cause the observed repartitioning; the high ammonia/nitric oxide circumstance in the SCR unit was also speculated to cause the mercury desorption from ash particles and subsequent reentrance into the gas phase. ESP can remove up to 99% of Hgp, and wet flue gas desulfurization (FGD) can remove up to 84% of Hg2+. Mercury mass balances were calculated to range between 81 and 127.4%, with an average of 95.7% wherein 56–82% was in ESP fly ash, 8.7–18.6% was retained in the FGD gypsum, and 6.2–26.1% was emitted from the stack. Data presented here suggest that mercury removal can be largely enhanced by increasing the conversion of Hg0 into Hgp and Hg2+.

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