Fate of Mercury in Synthetic Gypsum Used for Wallboard Production

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This report presents and discusses results from Task 6 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. 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 involve the capture ... continued below

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Sanderson, Jessica; Blythe, Gary M. & Richardson, Mandi December 1, 2006.

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This report presents and discusses results from Task 6 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. 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 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 now includes six discrete tasks, each conducted at various USG wallboard plants using synthetic gypsum from different FGD systems. The project was originally composed of five tasks, which 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 include testing with an alternate FGD reagent, could not be conducted as planned. Instead, Task 5 was conducted at conditions similar to Task 3, although with gypsum from an alternate FGD system. Subsequent to conducting Task 5 under these revised conditions, an opportunity arose to test gypsum produced at the same FGD system, but with an additive (Degussa Corporation's TMT-15) being used in the FGD system. TMT-15 was expected to impact the stability of mercury in synthetic gypsum used to produce wallboard, so Task 6 was added to the project to test this theory. In this project, process stacks in the wallboard plant have been sampled using the Ontario Hydro method. For every task, the stack locations sampled have included a dryer for the wet gypsum as it enters the plant and a gypsum calciner. For Tasks 1, 4, 5 and 6, the stack of the dryer for the wet wallboard product was also tested. 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 6 was conducted at a wallboard plant processing synthetic gypsum from a power plant that fires Eastern bituminous coal. The power plant has a single-loop, open spray tower limestone forced oxidation FGD system, with the forced oxidation conducted in the reaction tank integral with the FGD absorber. The FGD system has gypsum fines blow down as part of the dewatering step. The power plant is equipped with a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system for NOX emissions control, and the SCR was in service during the time period the gypsum tested was produced. Also, as mentioned above, Degussa additive TMT-15 was being added to the FGD system when this gypsum was produced. The results of the Task 6 stack testing, as measured by the Ontario Hydro method, detected that an average of 55% of the incoming mercury was emitted during wallboard production. These losses were distributed as about 4% across the dryer mill, 6% across the board dryer kiln, and 45% across the kettle calciner. Emissions were similar to what Task 5 results showed on a percentage basis, but about 30% lower on a mass basis. The same power plant FGD system produced the synthetic gypsum used in Task 5 (with no use of TMT-15) and in Task 6 (with TMT-15 added to the FGD system). The lower emissions on a mass basis appeared to be due to lower average mercury content in the gypsum being processed. It is not certain whether the lower average mercury content in the gypsum was an effect of TMT-15 addition to the FGD system. As was seen in the Task 1 through 5 results, most of the mercury detected in the Ontario Hydro method stack testing was in the form of elemental mercury.

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: FC26-04NT42080
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 918423
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc885221

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • December 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; Blythe, Gary M. & Richardson, Mandi. Fate of Mercury in Synthetic Gypsum Used for Wallboard Production, text, December 1, 2006; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc885221/: accessed September 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.