Distribution of trace elements in inhalable particulates emitted from burning coal

HOU Cong1 SHAO Long-yi1 WANG Jing2 LIU Jun-xia3 ZHAO Cheng-mei1 GENG Chun-mei2

(1.College of Geoscience and Surveying Engineering, China University of Mining & Technology (Beijing), Beijing, China 100083)
(2.Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing, China 100012)
(3.China Association of Circular Economy, Beijing, China 100037)

【Abstract】Coal burning emission is one of the major sources of the airborne particulates in northern China. In this paper, the trace elements in inhalable particulates (PM10) collected from a combustion-dilution system by burning different coals in laboratory were studied by the ICP-MS (Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry). The raw coals were collected from the coal mines in five different regions, namely Zhijin, Datong, Dongsheng, Yinchuan and Jingxi. The results indicated that the major elements Zn, Fe, Rb, Pb, Cu, Cr, Ti, Mn, Ba, Ni, and As were enriched, in a descending order, in the whole sample of PM10 derived from burning coal. The water-soluble trace elements in PM10were mainly Zn, Rb, Pb, Cu, Ti, As, Ni in a descending order of contents. The percentage of the water-soluble Cs, Rb, Cd, Tl, Sb, and Zn over the total individual trace element was relatively high. This indicated that these elements existed mostly in water-soluble state in PM10 derived from burning coal. Interestingly, Fe was not detected in the water-soluble fraction of PM10, indicating that Fe existed mainly as insoluble state in coal burning PM10. The rare earth elements in PM10 emitted from burning coal were dominated by Sc, Ce, Nd and La. The contents of the total analyzed trace elements (TATE) were the highest in the PM10 emitted from burning the Yinchuan Coal, followed by the PM10s from burning the Zhijin, Jingxi, Datong, and Dongsheng coals in a descending order. The higher levels of the TATE in PM10 emitted from burning the Yinchuan and Jingxi coals were due to the high ash contents in the raw coals, and the higher levels of TATE in the PM10 emitted from burning the Zhijin Coal were attributed to the high sulfur content in the raw coal.

【Keywords】 coal burning emission; inhalable particles/particulates; trace elements; distribution characteristics; ICP-MS;


【Funds】 Project sponsored by National Key Fundamental Research and Development Plan (973) (2013CB228503) National Natural Science Foundation for Important International Collaboration (41571130031)

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(Translated by 裴本砚1)


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This Article


CN: 11-2190/TD

Vol 41, No. 03, Pages 760-768

March 2016


Article Outline


  • 1 Sampling and experiment
  • 2 Results and analyses
  • 3 Conclusions
  • References