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Trace Elements from Coal Combustion: Emissions

AUTHOR: Irene M. Smith
DATE: June 1987

This review investigates recent work relating to coal combustion as one of the sources of trace elements to the environment. It assesses the effects of pollution abatement and control technologies on the atmospheric emissions of trace elements, especially those adsorbed on the smallest (respirable) particles and the vapour phase componenets. Data on the concentrations of trace elements retained in ther ash products are presented.

Although sampling and analysis techniques impose some limitations on the conclusions which can be drawn, the following main points emerege from this study:

  • trace elements are retained best by the most efficident particulate control devices, for example ESP and fabric filters (baghouses);
  • flue gas desulphurisation systems improve trace element capture;
  • emissions of trace elements from fluidised bed combustors appear to be similar to those from conventional boilers.

The scope of the report excludes consideration of the chemical form and toxicity of the emissions and hence their subsequent pathways and effects in the environment.