MIMOSA project: What happens to mercury during combustion?

Waste incineration plants are an important factor for continuous mercury measurements in Europe.


Mercury is a highly volatile heavy metal whose toxicity is well known. Reliable and continuous measurements of emissions are essential. This is an area in which we, together with the DURAG GROUP and our partners, are very active - currently, for example, in the so-called MIMOSA project. This project deals with the question: What happens to mercury during combustion?

Waste incineration plants are an important factor for continuous mercury measurements in Europe. The MIMOSA project was started in 2017 to improve knowledge of the fate of mercury in the flue gas treatment system of a waste incineration plant. MIMOSA stands for "Mercury in Incineration: MetrolOgy, Speciation & Impact on efficiency & Abatement".

This is because the behavior of mercury species in different compartments of a Waste to Energy plant (WtE) in relation to the respective roles of temperature, oxygen content and the molecules present is still poorly understood. The project aimed at better understanding and explaining the occurrence of erratic fluctuations of Hg content in combustion exhaust gases. The new knowledge should help to identify necessary measures for better control, monitoring and efficiency of mercury reduction during flue gas treatments.

With the support of project partner ADEME, the project was launched at the Alcéa site in Nantes (France), operated by Séché Environnement. The study consisted in carrying out advanced mercury monitoring and speciation at three defined points of the incinerator. At the same time, a continuous analysis using an infrared Fourier transform (FTIR) was carried out, and O2, HCl, H2O and SO2 concentrations were also recorded at these measurement points. The aim was to determine the appropriate operating conditions for improved environmental control of mercury emissions.

The Total Mercury Analyser HM-1400 TRX 2 from DURAG was used for the measurements. The certified total mercury analyser is used for continuous mercury measurement in flue or process gases and enables specification of for separate measurement of elemental and oxidised mercury. Its smallest certified measuring range is 0...15 µg/m³. Further information about the measuring device: www.durag.com/products-en/measuring-monitoring-en/mercury-analyzers-en/hm-1400-trx-en

The data collected will allow the determination of parameters for the plant to further enhance its environmental performances and ultimately to comply with the future emission limit value, which will apply on December 2023. The study also provided information on the speciation of mercury during the heat treatment process of waste. The MIMOSA program also evaluated mercury absorption phenomena during flue gas treatment.


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