Heavy metals in MSW incineration fly ashes

Celia Ferreira, Alexandra B. Ribeiro, Lisbeth M. Ottosen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Incineration is a common solution for dealing with the increasing amount of municipal solid waste (MSW). During the process, the heavy metals initially present in the waste go through several transformations, ending up in combustion products, such as fly ash. This article deals with some issues related to the combustion of MSW and the formation of fly ash, especially in what concerns heavy metals. Treatment of the flue gas in air pollution control equipment plays an important role and the basic processes to accomplish this are explained. Fly ash from a semi-dry flue gas treatment system is characterized regarding its physical-chemical properties: pH, solubility, chemical composition, and leaching, amongst others. Results indicate a high alkalinity and the presence of large amounts of calcium, chlorides, sulfates, carbonates, sodium and potassium. Metal concentrations in fly ash are: 6,2 g/kg for zinc, 2,4 g/kg for lead, 1,7 g/kg for iron, and 7,9 g/kg for magnesium. Copper, manganese, chromium and cadmium are also present with 546, 338, 104 and 91 mg/kg of fly ash, respectively. These results are extremely important in subsequent studies on the treatment of fly ash.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal de physique iv
Pages (from-to)463-466
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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