Treatment of high-ash industrial sludge for producing improved char with low heavy metal toxicity

Shengyu Xie, Guangwei Yu*, Chunxing Li, Jie Li, Gang Wang, Shaoqing Dai, Yin Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Industrial sludge is a type of solid waste that is known for its high ash content and heavy metal concentrations. In this study, industrial sludge was used for co-pyrolysis with rice straw at different temperatures (400, 500, and 600 °C) and mixture proportions (1:0, 9:1, 4:1, and 3:2, w/w). The relationship between heavy metal speciation and char properties was characterized in detail to investigate the effects of co-pyrolysis. Results show that the addition of rice straw can decrease the ash content and increase thermal stability and pore structure of char due to its high organic content. Simultaneously, co-pyrolysis decreases heavy metal concentrations and enhances the transformation of Cr, Zn, and Cd to a more stable fraction, with higher alkalinity, aromaticity, and specific surface area of char. Moreover, the leaching toxicity of Zn with high content is decreased to below threshold values, and the potential ecological risk of char is reduced to the lowest level under the condition of 600 °C with a mixing proportion of 4:1. This work demonstrates that co-pyrolysis provides an effective industrial sludge treatment for improving char characteristics and immobilizing heavy metals, indicating its superior application potential.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104866
JournalJournal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Char property
  • Co-pyrolysis
  • Heavy metal
  • Industrial sludge
  • Rice straw

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