Fate of Mercury in Synthetic Gypsum Used for Wallboard Production

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This report presents and discusses results from Task 5 of the study ''Fate of Mercury in Synthetic Gypsum Used for Wallboard Production,'' performed at a full-scale commercial wallboard plant. Synthetic gypsum produced by wet flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems on coal-fired power plants is commonly used in the manufacture of wallboard. The FGD process is used to control the sulfur dioxide emissions which would result in acid rain if not controlled. This practice has long benefited the environment by recycling the FGD gypsum byproduct, which is becoming available in increasing quantities, decreasing the need to landfill this material, and increasing ... continued below

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Sanderson, Jessica Marshall June 1, 2006.

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This report presents and discusses results from Task 5 of the study ''Fate of Mercury in Synthetic Gypsum Used for Wallboard Production,'' performed at a full-scale commercial wallboard plant. Synthetic gypsum produced by wet flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems on coal-fired power plants is commonly used in the manufacture of wallboard. The FGD process is used to control the sulfur dioxide emissions which would result in acid rain if not controlled. This practice has long benefited the environment by recycling the FGD gypsum byproduct, which is becoming available in increasing quantities, decreasing the need to landfill this material, and increasing the sustainable design of the wallboard product. However, new concerns have arisen as recent mercury control strategies developed for power plants involve the capture of mercury in FGD systems. The objective of this study is to determine whether any mercury is released into the atmosphere when the synthetic gypsum material is used as a feedstock for wallboard production. The project is being co-funded by the U.S. DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory (Cooperative Agreement DE-FC26-04NT42080), USG Corporation, and EPRI. USG Corporation is the prime contractor, and URS Group is a subcontractor. The project scope includes five discrete tasks, each conducted at various USG wallboard plants using synthetic gypsum from different FGD systems. The five tasks were to include (1) a baseline test, then variations representing differing power plant (2) emissions control configurations, (3) treatment of fine gypsum particles, (4) coal types, and (5) FGD reagent types. However, Task 5, which was to evaluate gypsum produced from an alternate FGD reagent, could not be conducted as planned. Instead, Task 5 was conducted at conditions similar to a previous task, Task 3, although with gypsum from an alternate FGD system. In this project, process stacks in the wallboard plant have been sampled using the Ontario Hydro method. The stack locations sampled for each task include a dryer for the wet gypsum as it enters the plant and a gypsum calciner. The stack of the dryer for the wet wallboard product was also tested as part of this task, and was tested as part of Tasks 1 and 4. Also at each site, in-stream process samples were collected and analyzed for mercury concentration before and after each significant step in wallboard production. The Ontario Hydro results, process sample mercury concentration data, and process data were used to construct mercury mass balances across the wallboard plants. Task 5 was conducted at a wallboard plant processing synthetic gypsum from a power plant that fires Eastern bituminous coal. The power plant is equipped with a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system for NOX emissions control, but the SCR was bypassed during the time period the gypsum tested was produced. The power plant has a single-loop, open spray tower, limestone reagent FGD system, with forced oxidation conducted in a reaction tank integral with the FGD absorber. The FGD system has gypsum fines blow down as part of the dewatering step. Gypsum fines blow down is believed to be an important variable that impacts the amount of mercury in the gypsum byproduct and possibly its stability during the wallboard process. The results of the Task 5 stack testing, as measured by the Ontario Hydro method, detected that an average of 51% of the incoming mercury in the FGD gypsum was emitted during wallboard production. These losses were distributed as 2% or less each across the wet gypsum dryer and product wallboard dryer, and about 50% across the gypsum calciner. Emissions were similar to what Task 3 results showed, on both a percentage and a mass basis, for gypsum produced by a power plant firing bituminous coal and also having gypsum fines blow down as part of the FGD dewatering scheme. As was seen in the Task 1 through 4 results, most of the mercury detected in the stack testing on the wet gypsum dryer and kettle calciner was in the form of elemental mercury. In the wallboard dryer kiln, a more significant percentage of the mercury detected was in the oxidized form, particularly from the stack near the product discharge end of the kiln. However, this represented a very small percentage of the overall mercury loss.

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: FC26-04NT42080
  • DOI: 10.2172/908234 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 908234
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc884308

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  • June 1, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Nov. 28, 2016, 3:04 p.m.

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Sanderson, Jessica Marshall. Fate of Mercury in Synthetic Gypsum Used for Wallboard Production, report, June 1, 2006; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc884308/: accessed October 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.