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Environ Sci Technol. 2016 Nov 1;50(21):11837-11843. Epub 2016 Oct 13.

Using the Novel Method of Nonthermal Plasma To Add Cl Active Sites on Activated Carbon for Removal of Mercury from Flue Gas.

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State Key Laboratory of Coal Combustion, School of Energy and Power Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology , Wuhan 430074, China.


A new method using nonthermal plasma to add Cl active sites on activated carbon was proposed to improve the efficiency of activated carbon (AC) for removal of mercury from flue gas. The experiments were conducted via a lab-scale dielectric barrier discharge nonthermal plasma system and a vertical adsorption reactor. The results showed that the nonthermal plasma treatment with a small amount of Cl2 successfully added Cl active sites on AC and greatly increased the mercury removal efficiency of AC by chemisorption in a very short treatment time. The increase in Cl2 concentration for AC treatment promoted the efficiency of AC. The capacity of mercury adsorption positively correlated with the content of Cl2 for AC treatment, which depends on the number of Cl active sites on activated carbon. The treated AC maintained a high mercury removal efficiency within a temperature range of 30-210 °C. SO2 and H2O in flue gas inhibited the removal of mercury by AC, while HCl had a promotional effect. Scanning electron microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analysis indicated the chemisorption of mercury was attributed to the C-Cl groups generated on AC surfaces during Cl2 nonthermal plasma treatment. The C-Cl groups as active sites had strong adsorption energy for mercury, which converted elemental mercury to HgCl2.

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