The disposal of combustible wastes by incineration is a controversial issue that is strongly debated by both scientists and environmental activists due to the resulting emissions of noxious compounds, including (inter alia) polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), dibenzofurans (PCDFs), heavy metals and acid gases like sulfur dioxide. Currently available air pollution control devices are capable of effectively cleaning flue gases, and PCDD/F emissions to air from modern municipal solid waste (MSW) incinerators are low. However, the PCDD and PCDF end up in ash fractions that, in Sweden, are usually deposited in landfills.
The European Union has recently set a maximum permitted total concentration of 15 µg TEQ/kg for PCDD/F species in waste. Fly ash from municipal solid waste (MSW) incineration containing PCDD/Fs at concentrations above this limit will have to be remediated to avoid disposing of them in landfills; an expensive and environmentally unfriendly option. Therefore, effective, reliable and cost-effective methods for degrading PCDD/F in fly ash are required, and a better understanding of the behavior of PCDDs and PCDFs during thermal treatment will be needed to develop them.
In the studies this thesis is based upon both the formation and degradation of PCDDs and PCDFs in ashes from MSW incineration were studied.
The main findings of the investigations regarding PCCD/F formation were:
- The concentrations of PCDD and PCDF in fly ash increased with reductions in the temperature in the post-combustion zone.
- The homologue profile in the ash changed when the temperature in the post-combustion zone changed.
- The final amounts of PCDD and PCDF present were affected by their rates of both formation and degradation, and the mechanisms involved differ between PCDDs and PCDFs.
The main findings from the degradation studies were:
- The chemical composition of ash has a major impact on the degradation potential of PCDD and PCDF.
- The presence of oxygen during thermal treatment can enhance the degradation of PCDD and PCDF.
- Thermal treatment is a viable option for degrading PCDD and PCDF in ashes from MSW.
- Shifts in chlorination degree occur during thermal treatment.
- Rapid heat transfer into the ash is a key factor for ensuring fast degradation of PCDD and PCDF.
- Degradation of other chlorinated organic compounds, e.g. PCB and HCB, also occurs during thermal treatment of ash.
- Reductions in levels of PCDD and PCDF were not solely due to their desorption to the gas phase.
- Differences between the behavior of 2378-substituted congeners of PCDD and PCDF and the other congeners during thermal treatment were observed.
- Differences in isomer patterns of both PCDD and PCDF were observed between the ash and gas phases after thermal treatment at both 300 and 500 oC.
Overall, the results show that the formation and degradation mechanisms of PCDDs differ substantially from those of PCDFs. Thus these groups of compounds should be separately considered in attempts to identify ways to reduce their concentrations.
Umeå: Kemi , 2007. , 59 p.
MSW, fly ash, remediation, ash, PCDD, PCDF, formation, degradation, destruction, dechlorination, thermal treatment