Heavy metal leaching from wood ash before and after hydration and carbonation

Lisbeth M. Ottosen*, Nina M. Sigvardsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

12 Downloads (Pure)


Wood ashes can be used, e.g., as soil fertilizer or in construction materials; however, it is important to ensure that such use will not cause spreading of heavy metals and subsequent harm to the environment. Wood fly ashes (WFAs) generally have higher concentrations of heavy metals than wood bottom ashes. This paper focuses on the leaching of heavy metals from WFA, specifically identifying WFA characteristics that influence the leaching and changes in leaching caused by hydration and carbonation in ambient air. Chemometric modeling based on characteristics for eight different WFAs suggested that the leaching of Cr and Zn was associated with the concentration of K and the leaching of SO42−, indicating a connection to the soluble K2(SO4) commonly found in WFAs. During the aging, both pH and conductivity of the WFAs decreased showing the formation of new phases. The leaching of Cd, Cu, Ni, and Pb was low initially and decreased to non-measurable after the aging. So did the leaching of Zn except from one of the WFAs. Thus, the part of the heavy metals, which were leaching originally, was built into the newly formed phases. The Cr leaching also showed a general decrease during the aging, however, not to similarly low levels. This means that the leaching Cr fraction was either not influenced by the aging processes or the formed phases contained water-soluble Cr. The continued leaching of Cr needs more attention as it may be the toxic and carcinogenic Cr(IV). As the chemistry and mineralogy of WFAs, inclusive of the mobility of the heavy metals, are subject to changes, increased knowledge on the chemistry determining these changes is needed to choose environmentally sound recycling options.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Wood fly ash
  • Heavy metals
  • Leaching chemometric modeling
  • Soluble salts


Dive into the research topics of 'Heavy metal leaching from wood ash before and after hydration and carbonation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this