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Snigdha Sushil, Vidya S. Batra
Centre for Energy and Environment, TERI School of Advanced Studies, Habitat Place, Lodhi Road, New Delhi 110 003, India Received 3 November 2005; received in revised form 20 April 2006; accepted 20 April 2006 Available online 12 June 2006
Abstract The study investigates the heavy metal content of ﬂy ash and bottom ash from three major power plants in North India, using ﬂame atomic absorption spectrometry. It also studies the prevalent disposal methods used at these sites. The ashes were analysed for the presence of Cr, Mn, Pb, Zn, Cu, Ni and Co and detectable levels of all were found in both ﬂy ash and bottom ash. The concentrations of Cr and Zn were highest while Co concentration was less. The wet disposal method is used in two of the power plants (site 1 and site 3). Neither of the sites uses ash pond lining in the construction of the ash ponds, hence leaching of the heavy metals is possible. Site 2 has adopted 100% dry disposal system which allows better utilization but incurs additional costs. Better management practices, increased utilization and proper disposal practices need to be undertaken to minimize the adverse environmental impact. Ó 2006 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Keywords: Fly ash; Heavy metal; Disposal
1. Introduction Indian coal used in power plants generally has high ash content (35–45%) and is of lower quality . Presently about 110 million tonnes of coal-ash is generated in India from more than 70 thermal power plants . By the year 2012 this is predicted to increase to 170 million tonnes per annum . Worldwide, China is currently the largest producer of ﬂy ash followed by Russia and USA. The ECOBA (European Coal Combustion Products Association) member countries account for 90% of CCP (Coal Combustion Products) in Europe, producing 37.14 million tonnes of ﬂy ash and utilizing about 48% of it . In India, at present, the major portion of ﬂy ash produced goes for disposal in ash ponds and landﬁlls and only a small fraction of it is utilized . The utilization rate (13%) is far below the global utilization rate (25%) . Due to minute particle size and presence of potentially toxic elements like arsenic, chromium, boron, vanadium
and antimony, ﬂy ash has been considered hazardous for living organisms. Some heavy metals leach out of the ash ponds and contaminate the soil, surface and ground water. These heavy metals have been known to limit the survival and growth of plants and microbial population . The present study investigates select heavy metal content of ﬂy ash and bottom ash of three thermal power plants situated in and around the National Capital Region, Delhi, India, and compares it to the data available for other ﬂy ashes. It also looks at the disposal/handling techniques adopted by these power plants to manage their coal ash. 2. Materials and methods 2.1. Sample collection Three coal based thermal power plants were chosen for the collection of the ﬂy ash and bottom ash samples. Site 1 has a capacity of 705 MW and uses coal mainly from Jharia Coal Fields in Eastern India. Site 2 has a capacity of 840 MW and uses coal from North Piparwar Mines, in Eastern India. Site 3 has a capacity of 2100 MW and uses
Corresponding author. Tel.: +91 11 24682100; fax: +91 11 24682144. E-mail address: email@example.com (V.S. Batra).
0016-2361/$ - see front matter Ó 2006 Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.fuel.2006.04.031
2 29. Concentration of Table 1 Concentration of elements in ﬂy ash and bottom ash from the three power plants (values in mg/kg) Sample FA1 FA2 FA3 BA1 BA2 BA3 Cr 103 90 87 74 72 54 Mn 62 47 139 182 118 84 Pb 56 20 34 16 16 10 Zn 124 60 64 43 44 29 Cu 83 56 58 50 46 40 Ni 63 39 28 31 32 26 Co 18 13 8 11 10 9 heavy metals was highest in site 1 ﬂy ash. site 1.50 69.6 87.91 150 n/r Orissa.88 83. and the volume was made up to 50 ml. 2. however show no such preference . The stacks at site 1 power plant are installed with ESPs for the collection of the ﬂy ash of diﬀerent particle size from the outgoing ﬂue gas. This sample was used for analysis of heavy metals by ﬂame atomic absorption spectroscopy and ﬁnal concentrations of heavy metals were determined.coal from Gevra Mines in Central India.6 100 35 338. The ﬂy ash samples were light grey in colour and irregularly shaped. FA3-ESP ﬂy ash. A major portion of the ﬂy ash is collected as wet slurry. It can be seen that the values are within the range reported for Indian ﬂy ash.50 338. In general the concentration of elements in ﬂy ash was higher than in bottom ash.2. Co was the least abundant in all the samples.00 . Result and discussions 3. cobalt (Co). The method used for the analysis of the heavy metals was atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS).3 g) was weighed into a Teﬂon vessel.6 Spain  134. BA1-bottom ash. This has the advantages of controlling the fugitive emissions by forming a thin ﬁlm on the FA1-ESP ﬂy ash. site 3.75 16. Cr and Zn were the most abundant elements while in all bottom ash samples.9 221. Heavy metal composition Results for the heavy metal analysis of ﬂy ash and bottom ash samples are presented in Table 1. The diﬀerence between the ﬂy ash and bottom ash samples from the same power plant may be due to the difference in the mass of the elements. It has also been reported that the composition of trace elements in ﬂy ash even from a single coal ﬁred power plant may vary measurably on a daily basis .2. After digestion the sample was ﬁltered and transferred to a volumetric ﬂask. In ﬂy ash samples from sites 1 and 2. Some elements. lead (Pb).2 71. BA3-bottom ash. site 2. FA2-ESP ﬂy ash.3 UK  n/r n/r n/r 17–176 n/r n/r n/r China  n/r n/r n/r 843–847 n/r n/r n/r India (average)  120 23. HNO3 and 2 ml HF were added to the vessel and kept for digestion in an autodigester for 20 min after attaining a temperature of 180 °C. present within the range of 8–20 mg/kg. Diﬀerence between the power stations can mainly be attributed to the use of diﬀerent types of coal. The bottom ash samples were coarser and darker grey in colour due to the presence of unburned carbon. site 1.8–62. site 2. site 3. Five millilitres of 70% conc. Elements having lower mass can be carried and precipitated with the ﬂy ash (Cu. The results from this study are compared with the ranges of heavy metals reported in the literature for ﬂy ash from India and from other countries (Table 2). 3. Table 2 Comparison of values of heavy metal concentrations obtained in this study with those reported in literature (values in mg/kg) Element Location Site 1 Cr Co Cu Pb Mn Ni Zn 103 18 83 56 62 63 124 Site 2 Current study 90 13 56 20 47 39 60 Site 3 87 8 58 34 139 28 64 Greece  110–160 n/r 31. 3.8 123–143 213–330 n/r 59.8 52 324. Considerable variation was found in the heavy metal concentration both between the three power plant samples and between the ﬂy ash and bottom ash samples from the same power plant. The surface of the pond ash is sprinkled with the water treatment plant sludge. Dry sample (0. nickel (Ni). In February and March 2005. except for manganese that showed highest concentration in site 3 ﬂy ash. The discharge water from the pond is collected and discharged in a river or drain.91 56. like Ni.1. Mn was the most abundant element. All three sites are equipped with ESPs (Electrostatic precipitators) for ﬂy ash collection. Heavy metal analysis The collected samples were tested for the following elements—chromium (Cr). It can be observed that some of the heavy elements in Indian ﬂy ash as reported in the literature and analysed in this study are found in lower concentration than in other countries. India  145.63 54. Ash handling/disposal methods at site 1 and site 3 Both sites 1 and 3 follow the wet disposal technique. This slurry is transported and disposed of in an ash pond. copper (Cu) and manganese (Mn). BA2-bottom ash. Zn) while elements having higher mass may settle rapidly after combustion and be enriched in bottom ash (Co). ﬂy ash and bottom ash samples were collected from the selected sites. zinc (Zn).
Since site 2 has already incurred a huge ﬁxed cost for carrying ﬂy ash from the boiler to the ash mound. Mn and Cu in Greek ﬂy ash have exhibited an increase in leachate concentration with the reduction in leachant pH from 8 to 4. and asbestos.4. Ni. pond ash and bottom ash is supplied free of cost to all types of users on ‘‘as is where is’’ basis. The shift from wet collection to dry collection system at site 2 is a welcome step. Analysis of heavy metals in groundwater near a coal ash disposal site in Orissa. stabilization of ash mound and covering of the completed mound with vegetation are required to minimize environmental damage. under acidic conditions the rate and quantity of leaching is higher. Pb showed maximum extractability at all pH values . Mn. Zn. Therefore seepage from ash ponds may be more compared to leaching from landﬁlls and ash mounds . Therefore. the possibility of leaching of the heavy metals increases. A combination of suitable disposal techniques and increased utilization is required to combat the environmental problem associated with ﬂy ash generation. Serial batch leaching test done on some Indian ﬂy ashes have shown that many elements like Mn. Planting of saplings having tolerance to warm slurry water and heavy metals is considered to be the most ideal mitigation measure. as it will increase the potential of utilization of ash in various applications. which can then be sent to the user. In general. Cu and Pb were found in high concentration in tube well water located in the vicinity of an ash pond while Cu.0% of this has gone for ﬁlling low-lying areas and embankments and 6. Leaching tests have been commonly used to predict environmental impact associated with ash disposal. cement.0% of the ash generated is dumped in the ash mound. . Potential for contamination from trace elements Leaching is the most likely path by which coal bottom ash constituents would become mobile. The disposal of unutilized ash in the form of ash mound not only saves the use of land and water but minimizes the chances of water pollution. Site 2 supplies dry ﬂy ash to cement and asbestos industries. India showed that Zn. A small portion of the ﬂy ash is collected in the dry form. However proper measures like lining at the bottom of the ash mound. blocks. Certain studies reveal that for most of the elements present in coal ash. Since the beginning of commercial production in August 1992 till the end of March 2001. by minimizing leaching. As and Mg show maximum concentration in the leachate at low L/S (liquid/solid) of 4 and 8. Since soil below the impoundments is always saturated and under considerable hydraulic head. The power plant has the facility to directly ﬁll the ﬂy ash into trucks. Some elements like Cu and Pb were also present in the leachate but in insigniﬁcant levels. Pb. especially in transportation of ﬂy ash. is able to leach . Ash handling/disposal methods at site 2 Site 2 power plant has Asia’s ﬁrst 100% dry ash extraction system with transit ash storage silos and ﬁnal storage in the form of ash mounds. The quantity of elements that will be available for leaching in an aqueous media will depend on the ﬁxation of these elements on the ash particles and pH of the ash-aqueous medium . Once the ash mound has reached the prescribed height. Almost 16. Zn. Zn. Cu. Mn. discharge of rain water and run oﬀ from the ash mound areas into surface water bodies can also be a source of water pollution. As per the guidelines on utilization of ﬂy ash. a signiﬁcant fraction. makes the surroundings more prone to heavy metal contamination. Conclusions Total concentration of Cr.3. and Co was evaluated in ﬂy ash and bottom ash samples from three diﬀerent power stations. 3. The ﬂy ash is used for brick manufacturing and for ﬁlling and embankment of roads and low-lying areas. the ineﬃciently lined ponds provide a great opportunity for the groundwater contaminants to seep in. enhancing the fertility of ash for growth of vegetation and ground cover and thirdly by providing a disposal option for the WTP (water treatment plant) sludge. 3. ranging from 8% in case of nickel to 17% in case of chromium. it is sprayed with polymer layer and vegetation is grown on top of it. since the biomass can also adsorb toxic metals as nutrients and provide obstruction for wind blown particulates . In general the heavy metal concentration of Indian coal ash was less compared to ash from other parts of the world. Cr and Ni did not leach at any L/S ratio.0% of ﬂy ash generated by the unit has been utilized. The system has the ﬂexibility of collecting graded dry ﬂy ash from diﬀerent ﬁelds of ESP. the other factors inﬂuencing leaching include ash source and leaching time. using ash ponds without lining.surface. environmental contaminants . Therefore it is necessary to incorporate ash pond lining while designing ash ponds.0% has gone for manufacturing bricks. The unutilized 78. The wet disposal technique followed in site 1 and 3. while other elements like Co. In addition to this. 4. Ca. In addition to this. All elements were present within detectable limits. One of the disadvantages of using this system is the cost involved. there is no attempt to substantially increase the utilization of ﬂy ash. around 22. Presently ash pond lining is not being followed in practice in sites 1 and 3. Dry collection of ﬂy ash at site 2 allows its better utilization. Pb and Zn were the major contaminants in groundwater . Cr. 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