Environmental Science & Technology
The research presented here was conducted within the scope of an experiment investigating technical feasibility and environmental impacts of tire combustion in a coal-fired power station. Previous work has shown that combustion of a coal+tire blend rather than pure coal increased bulk emissions of various elements (e.g., Zn, As, Sb, Pb). The aim of this study is to characterize the chemical and structural properties of emitted single particles with dimensions <2.5 μm (PM2.5). This transmission electron microscope (TEM)-based study revealed that, in addition to phases typical of coal fly ash (e.g., aluminum-silicate glass, mullite), the emitted PM2.5 contains amorphous selenium particles and three types of crystalline metal sulfates never reported before from stack emissions. Anglesite, PbSO4, is ubiquitous in the PM2.5 derived from both fuels and contains nearly all Pb present in the PM. Gunningite, ZnSO4·H2O, is the main host for Zn and only occurs in the PM derived from the coal+tire blend, whereas yavapaiite, KFe3+(SO4)2, is present only when pure coal was combusted. We conclude that these metal sulfates precipitated from the flue gas, may be globally abundant aerosols, and have, through hydration or dissolution, a major environmental and health impact.
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