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Thursday, 4 June 2009

Light up-date meets Coal-fired power generation, the Mercury Connection: Mercury Emissions, Removal, Products, Processes

Most of us in the northern hemisphere will remember, mercury, that marvelous room-temperature liquid metal which was used for high-school science class demonstration purposes, carefully confined to the high-school science lab fume cupboard and even earlier as the thing in the thermometer stuck in our mouth and at the time of no concern as a hazardous materials recycling issue, I guess.

Currently the push towards lower energy lighting in particular has drawn both regulators and concerned citizens attention to the situation concerning the use of mercury (Hg) in theses products and in particular the increasing tendency to use cfl-compact fluorescent light bulbs.

One natural question comes to mind. How does the light source and it's compulsory recycling compare with other products and process emissions of Hg? cf. fig. Hg in products from USA's EPA. (Environmental Protection Agency).



Which Processes emit Hg and to what extent? cf. TABLE and FIG. for USA from EPA below.














The Following Fig. taken from Wikipedia shows a partial life cycle assessment approach a comparing potential Hg emissions in two current light-bulb products.










The global distribution of Hg emissions are mapped as follows, due to The Encyclopedia of Earth.
















Current and future Trends reported by USA and The European Union (EU) are as follows:
USA EU.











This short introductory graphic series would not be complete without a few pointers to the substantial work in progress aimed at eliminating Hg both from CFL's light cycle and the Coal-fired power generation cycle.












Sources and references:

1. EPA's Road-map and the Executive Summary.
The Road-map focuses on six key areas:
1.mercury releases to the environment;
2.mercury uses in products and industrial processes;
3.managing commodity-grade mercury supplies;
4.communicating risks to the public;
5.international mercury sources; and
6.conducting mercury research and monitoring.

2. The Encyclopedia of Earth .

Hg removal Coal powered flue gases

3. CONTROL OF MERCURY EMISSIONS FROM COAL-FIRED ELECTRIC UTILITY BOILERS _pdf format Air Pollution Prevention and Control Division National Risk Management Research Laboratory Office of Research and Development U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Research Triangle Park, NC


4. Control of Mercury Emissions from Coal-Fired Power Plants:
A Preliminary Cost Assessment _pdf format
, Thomas Brown, William O’Dowd, Robert Reuther, and Dennis Smith U.S. Department of Energy Federal Energy Technology Center

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High Purity Cr sources for Superalloys

Energy for th Future:Phil.Trans.A-Vol. 365, N° 1853 / April 15, 2007, curtesy The Royal Soc. London

Engineered foams and porous materials: Phil Trans A. Vol 364, N° 1838 / 06 curtesy_The R Soc. Lond