Chemical and ecotoxicological characterization of ashes obtained from sewage sludge combustion in a fluidised-bed reactor

Lapa, N., R. Barbosa, M. H. Lopes, B. Mendes, P. Abelha, I. I. Gulyurtlu, and J. Santos Oliveira. "Chemical and ecotoxicological characterization of ashes obtained from sewage sludge combustion in a fluidised-bed reactor." Journal of Hazardous Materials. 147.1-2 (2007): 175-183.


In 1999, the DEECA/INETI and the UBiA/FCT/UNL started a researching project on the partition of heavy metals during the combustion of stabilised sewage sludge (BiogranĀ®), in a fluidised-bed reactor, and on the quality of the bottom ashes and fly ashes produced. This project was entitled Bimetal and was funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology. In this paper only the results on the combustion of BiogranĀ® are reported. The combustion process was performed in two different trials, in which different amounts of sewage sludge and time of combustion were applied. Several ash samples were collected from the bed (bottom ashes) and from two cyclones (first cyclone and second cyclone ashes). Sewage sludge, bed material (sand) and ash samples were submitted to the leaching process defined in the European leaching standard EN 12457-2. The eluates were characterized for a set of inorganic chemical species. The ecotoxicological levels of the eluates were determined for two biological indicators (Vibrio fischeri and Daphnia magna). The results were compared with the limit values of the CEMWE French Regulation. The samples were also ranked according to an index based on the chemical characterization of the eluates. It was observed an increase of the concentration of metals along the combustion system. The ashes trapped in the second cyclone, for both combustion trials, showed the highest concentration of metals in the eluates. Chemically, the ashes of the second cyclone were the most different ones. In the ecotoxicological point of view, the ecotoxicity levels of the eluates of the ashes, for both combustion cycles, did not follow the same pattern as observed for the chemical characterization. The ashes of the first cyclone showed the highest ecotoxicity levels for V. fischeri and D. magna. This difference on chemical and ecotoxicological results proves the need for performing both chemical and ecotoxicological characterizations of the sub-products of such type of thermal processes.

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