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Book Chapter
Lapa, N., R. Barbosa, B. Mendes, and J. F. Santos Oliveira. "Chemical and ecotoxicological long-term behaviour of new materials for quarry back-filling and underground constructions." International RILEM Conference on the Use of Recycled Materials in Building and Structures. Eds. E. Vázquez, Ch. F. Hendriks, and G. M. T. Janssen. Barcelona: RILEM, 2004. 373-382. Abstractpaper_186_final_version.pdf

The main aim of the Valomat project was the development of new materials for quarry back-filling and underground constructions, based on the reuse of bottom ashes from MSWI. Bottom ashes were collected in six incineration plants of Europe. Some of them were selected for the development of new materials.
One task of this project comprised the study of the long-term behavior of new materials, under simulated conditions of environmental exposure. Three different scenarios were studied. For each scenario, a pilot plant was constructed and the new materials were studied under laboratory conditions or natural weather. The long-term behavior of these materials was assessed through the characterization of chemical and ecotoxicological properties of the leachates.
The chemical contamination and the ecotoxicological levels of the leachates were relatively low, although different levels had been determined for the three different scenarios. The immersion in dechlorinated tap water (scenario S1) had shown the highest emission levels of chlorides, sulphates, DOC, and Al, especially for the materials B2/1 and B2/2. The lowest ecotoxicological and chemical levels were determined in the scenario in which the materials were buried in a sieved soil.

Journal Article
Bernardo, M., M. Gonçalves, N. Lapa, R. Barbosa, B. Mendes, and F. Pinto. "Characterization of chars produced in the co-pyrolysis of different wastes: decontamination study." Journal of Hazardous Materials. 207-208 (2012): 28-35. AbstractWebsite

The present work is devoted to the study of the decontamination of chars obtained in the co-pyrolysis of plastics, biomass and tyre wastes. The chars were extracted with several organic solvents of different polarities either individually or in sequence. The ability of each selected extractant to remove toxic pollutants was evaluated by comparing the extraction yields and by characterizing the crude extracts with a combination of chemical analysis and toxicity bioassays. Also, the mineral composition of the treated and non-treated chars was assessed. The results obtained in this study indicate that hexane is the more efficient extraction solvent to be used in the organic decontamination of chars obtained in the co-pyrolysis of plastics, tyres and biomass. A sequential extraction with solvents of increasing polarity can provide a better decontamination of the raw pyrolysis char than any individual extraction. The compounds removed from the char during the decontamination process are mainly aliphatic hydrocarbons and aromatic hydrocarbons, therefore a material that may be upgraded to be used as a fuel and/or as raw material for the organic chemical industry.

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. AbstractWebsite

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 (Biogran®), 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 Biogran® 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.

Bernardo, M., N. Lapa, R. Barbosa, M. Gonçalves, B. Mendes, F. Pinto, and I. Gulyurtlu. "Chemical and ecotoxicological characterization of solid residues produced during the co-pyrolysis of plastics and pine biomass." Journal of Hazardous Materials. 166.1 (2009): 309-317. AbstractWebsite

A mixture of 70% (w/w) pine biomass and 30% (w/w) plastics (mixture of polypropylene, polyethylene, and polystyrene) was subjected to pyrolysis at 400 °C, for 15 min, with an initial pressure of 40 MPa. Part of the solid residue produced was subjected to extraction with dichloromethane (DCM). The extracted residue (residue A) and raw residue (residue B) were analyzed by weight loss combustion and submitted to the leaching test ISO/TS 21268-2 using two different leachants: DCM (0.2%, v/v) and calcium chloride (0.001 mol/L). The concentrations of the heavy metals Cd, Cr, Ni, Zn, Pb and Cu were determined in the eluates and in the two residues. The eluates were further characterized by determining their pH and the concentrations of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes (BTEX). The presence of other organic contaminants in the eluates was qualitatively evaluated by gas chromatography, coupled with mass spectrometry. An ecotoxicological characterization was also performed by using the bio-indicator Vibrio fischeri. The chemical and ecotoxicological results were analyzed according to the French proposal of Criteria on the Evaluation Methods of Waste Ecotoxicity (CEMWE). Residue A was not considered to be ecotoxic by the ecotoxicological criterion (EC50 (30 min) ≥10%), but it was considered to be ecotoxic by the chemical criterion (Ni ≥ 0.5 mg/L). Residue B was considered to be ecotoxic by the ecotoxicological criterion: EC50 (30 min) ≤ 10%. Besides that, residue B was considered to be hazardous according the European legislation (BTEX concentrations higher than 100 ppb). The results indicate that volatile organic contaminants can be present in sufficient amounts in these residues and their eluates to induce ecotoxicity levels. The extraction of the pyrolysis residue with DCM was an efficient method for removing lighter organic contaminants.

Barbosa, Rui, Nuno Lapa, Helena Lopes, and Benilde Mendes. "Chemical and ecotoxicological properties of ashes produced in the co-combustion of coal and meat and bone meal in a fluidized bed reactor." Fuel Processing Technology. 96 (2012): 48-55. AbstractWebsite

The co-combustion of coal and meat and bone meal (MBM) is a possible energetic valorization route for this residue. Nevertheless, the properties of ashes produced need to be studied. To evaluate these properties, three combustion tests were performed in a fluidized bed reactor: 1) coal combustion; 2) coal + MBM (85% + 15%) co-combustion; 3) MBM combustion. The characterization of ashes was focused on the following aspects: (1) Determination of bulk content of Cr, Zn, Ni, Cu, Pb, Cd, Hg, As, Ba, Mo, Sb, Se, Ca, Na, Mg, Fe, Al and K; (2) Leaching properties of ashes based on the European Standard EN12457-2. The eluates were characterized for some of the metals referred above and for Cr VI, CN−, pH, Cl−, F−, SO42−, dissolved organic carbon and total dissolved solids. The eluates were also characterized for ecotoxicological levels by using the following bio-indicators: bacterium V. fischeri, microalgae S. capricornutum and microcrustacean D. magna. The ashes produced in the combustion of coal and co-combustion of coal + MBM have not shown evidences of ecotoxicity, while the ashes produced in the combustion of MBM were classified as ecotoxic. An assessment of the relationship between the chemical and the ecotoxicological properties of the ashes was performed. pH seemed to be the chemical parameter that most influences the ecotoxicological level of ashes.

Barbosa, Rui, Diogo Dias, Nuno Lapa, Helena Lopes, and Benilde Mendes. "Chemical and ecotoxicological properties of size fractionated biomass ashes." Fuel Processing Technology. 109 (2013): 124-132. AbstractWebsite

The main aim of this work was to study the chemical and ecotoxicological properties of ashes produced in a biomass boiler of a pulp and paper industry and evaluate possible differences depending on the particle size of bottom and fly ashes. This industry produces electricity by burning eucalyptus and pine bark in a bubbling fluidized bed combustor. Bottom and fly ashes and their size fractions, obtained by sieving, were analysed for a set of metals and leaching behaviour. The eluates were also submitted to ecotoxicological characterization, using five indicators. The highest concentrations of metals and metalloids were found in the lower particle size fractions of bottom and fly ashes. However, generally, it could not be observed any specific releasing pattern of metals depending on the particle size, except for fly ashes in which the releasing rate of some earth and alkali-earth metals seemed to increase for lower particle size fractions. No specific pattern of the ecotoxicity levels could be associated to the different particle size fractions of ashes. The fractions of bottom ashes with 4,000–10,000 μm and > 10,000 μm have presented the lowest ecotoxicity levels. All the samples were classified as ecotoxic, except the fraction of bottom ashes > 10,000 μm.

Barbosa, R., N. Lapa, D. Boavida, H. Lopes, I. Gulyurtlu, and B. Mendes. "Co-combustion of coal and sewage sludge: chemical and ecotoxicological properties of ashes." Journal of Hazardous Materials. 170.2-3 (2009): 902-909. AbstractWebsite

The co-combustion of sewage sludge (SS) and coal is widely used for the treatment and thermal valorization of SS produced in wastewater treatment plants. The chemical and ecotoxicological properties of the ashes produced in this thermal treatment have not been fully studied. Two combustion tests were performed in a fluidized bed combustor. Colombian coal was used as fuel in test A. A blend (1 + 1) of this coal and a stabilized SS (Biogran®) was used in a second test B. Samples of the bottom and fly ashes trapped in two sequential cyclones were collected. The characterization of the ashes was focused on two main aspects: (1) the bulk content of a set of metals and (2) the characterization of eluates produced according to the European Standard leaching test EN 12457-2. The eluates were submitted to an ecotoxicological characterization for two bio-indicators. In what concerns the bulk content of ashes, both combustion tests have produced ashes with different compositions. The ashes formed during the co-combustion test have shown higher concentrations of metals, namely Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, Zn and Fe for all ashes. The leaching test has shown low mobility of these elements from the by-products produced during the combustion and co-combustion tests. Cr and Cr(VI) were mainly detected in the eluates of the 1st cyclone ashes produced in both combustion tests and in the 2nd cyclone ashes produced in the co-combustion test.

Considering the ecotoxicity assays, the eluates of bottom and fly ashes for both combustion and co-combustion tests have shown low ecotoxic levels. The micro-crustacean Daphnia magna was generally more sensitive than the bacterium Vibrio fischeri. CEMWE criterion has allowed to classify the bottom ashes for both combustion and co-combustion tests as non-toxic residues and the fly ashes collected in both cyclones as toxic.