The issue of mercury emission and the need to take action in this direction was noticed in 2013 via the Minamata Convention. Therefore, more and more often, work and new law regulations are commencing to reduce this chemical compound from the environment. The paper presents the problem of removing mercury from waste gases due to new BREF/BAT restrictions, in which the problem of the need to look for new, more efficient solutions to remove this pollution was also indicated. Attention is paid to the problem of the occurrence of mercury in the exhaust gases in the elemental form and the need to carry out laboratory tests. A prototype installation for the sorption of elemental mercury in a pure gas stream on solid sorbents is presented. The installation was built as part of the LIDER project, financed by the National Center for Research and Development in a project entitled: “The Application of Waste Materials From the Energy Sector to Capture Mercury Gaseous Forms from Flue Gas”. The installation is used for tests in laboratory conditions in which the carrier gas of elemental mercury is argon. The first tests on the zeolite sorbent were made on the described apparatus. The tested material was synthetic zeolite X obtained as a result of a two-stage reaction of synthesis of fly ash type C with sodium hydroxide. Due to an increase, the chemical affinity of the tested material in relation to mercury, the obtained zeolite material was activated with silver ions (Ag+) by an ion exchange using silver nitrate (AgNO3). The first test was specified for a period of time of about 240 minutes. During this time, the breakthrough of the tested zeolite material was not recorded, and therefore it can be concluded that the tested material may be promising in the development of new solutions for capturing mercury in the energy sector. The results presented in this paper may be of interest to the energy sector due to the solution of several environmental aspects. The first of them is mercury sorption tests for the development of new exhaust gases treatment technologies. On the other hand, the second aspect raises the possibility of presenting a new direction for the management and utilization of combustion by-products such as fly ash.
The paper presents current reports on kinetics and mechanisms of reactions with mercury which take place in the exhaust gases, discharged from the processes of combustion of solid fuels (coals). The three main stages were considered. The first one, when thermal decomposition of Hg components takes place together with formation of elemental mercury (Hg0). The second one with homogeneous oxidation of Hg0 to Hg2+ by other active components of exhaust gases (e.g. HCl). The third one with heterogeneous reactions of gaseous mercury (the both - elemental and oxidised Hg) and solid particles of fl y ash, leading to generation of particulate-bound mercury (Hgp). Influence of exhaust components and their concentrations, temperature and retention time on the efficiency of mercury oxidation was determined. The issues concerning physical (gas-solid) and chemical speciation of mercury (fractionation Hg0-Hg2+) as well as factors which have influence on the mercury speciation in exhaust gases are discussed in detail.