Size fractionation of waste-to-energy boiler ash enables separation of a coarse fraction with low dioxin concentrations

E. Weidemann, Elisa Allegrini, Thomas Fruergaard Astrup, T. Hulgaard, C. Riber, S. Jansson

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/F) formed in modern Waste-to-Energy plants are primarily found in the generated ashes and air pollution control residues, which are usually disposed of as hazardous waste. The objective of this study was to explore the occurrence of PCDD/F in different grain size fractions in the boiler ash, i.e. ash originating from the convection pass of the boiler. If a correlation between particle size and dioxin concentrations could be found, size fractionation of the ashes could reduce the total amount of hazardous waste. Boiler ash samples from ten sections of a boiler's convective part were collected over three sampling days, sieved into three different size fractions - 0.355. mm - and analysed for PCDD/F. The coarse fraction (>0.355. mm) in the first sections of the horizontal convection pass appeared to be of low toxicity with respect to dioxin content. While the total mass of the coarse fraction in this boiler was relatively small, sieving could reduce the amount of ash containing toxic PCDD/F by around 0.5. kg per tonne input waste or around 15% of the collected boiler ash from the convection pass. The mid-size fraction in this study covered a wide size range (0.09-0.355. mm) and possibly a low toxicity fraction could be identified by splitting this fraction into more narrow size ranges. The ashes exhibited uniform PCDD/F homologue patterns which suggests a stable and continuous generation of PCDD/F.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWaste Management
Pages (from-to)110-113
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Boiler ash
  • MSW
  • PCDD/F
  • Size fractionation
  • Air pollution control
  • Ashes
  • Fractionation
  • Hazardous materials
  • Hazards
  • Organic pollutants
  • Particle size
  • Pollution control
  • Toxicity
  • Air pollution control residues
  • Horizontal convection
  • Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans
  • Waste-to-energy plants
  • Boilers

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