Removal potential of toxic 2378-substituted PCDD/F from incinerator flue gases by waste-derived activated carbons

Yaghoub Hajizadeh, Jude A. Onwudili, Paul T. Williams*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The application of activated carbons has become a commonly used emission control protocol for the removal or adsorption of persistent organic pollutants from the flue gas streams of waste incinerators. In this study, the 2378-substituted PCDD/F removal efficiency of three types of activated carbons derived from the pyrolysis of refuse derived fuel, textile waste and scrap tyre was investigated and compared with that of a commercial carbon. Experiments were carried out in a laboratory scale fixed-bed reactor under a simulated flue gas at 275°C with a reaction period of four days. The PCDD/F in the solid matrices and exhaust gas, were analyzed using gas chromatography coupled with a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer. In the absence of activated carbon adsorbent, there was a significant increase in the concentration of toxic PCDD/F produced in the reacted flyash, reaching up to 6.6 times higher than in the raw flyash. In addition, there was a substantial release of PCDD/F into the gas phase, which was found in the flue gas trapping system. By application of the different commercial, refuse derived fuel, textile and tyre activated carbons the total PCDD/F toxic equivalent removal efficiencies in the exhaust gas stream were 58%, 57%, 64% and 52%, respectively. In general, the removal of the PCDDs was much higher with an average of 85% compared to PCDFs at 41%. Analysis of the reacted activated carbons showed that there was some formation of PCDD/F, for instance, a total of 60.6μg I-TEQ kg-1 toxic PCDD/F was formed in the refuse derived fuel activated carbon compared to 34μg I-TEQ kg-1 in the commercial activated carbon. The activated carbons derived from the pyrolysis of waste, therefore, showed good potential as a control material for PCDD/F emissions in waste incinerator flue gases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1194-1201
Number of pages8
JournalWaste Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011


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