Low-Cost Mercury Sorbents Derived From Waste Tires

EPA Contract Number: 68D02004
Title: Low-Cost Mercury Sorbents Derived From Waste Tires
Investigators: Wojtowicz, Marek
Small Business: Advanced Fuel Research Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: I
Project Period: April 1, 2002 through September 1, 2002
Project Amount: $69,999
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2002) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Pollution Prevention , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


This project addresses two environmental problems: (1) removal and recovery of mercury from combustion/incineration flue gas with concurrent control of SO2 and NOx; and (2) reprocessing of waste tires into value-added products. Coal combustion and incineration of municipal and hazardous wastes result in air pollution due to emissions of trace amounts of heavy metals. Because of the high toxicity of these species, their emissions are or will be regulated. The high volatility of mercury makes control of this metal particularly difficult.

Scrap tires present formidable disposal problems, as they are known to be immune to biological degradation. Landfilling of the 280 million tires that are generated each year in the United States is becoming an unacceptable solution. In addition to the continuous flow of waste tires, there are approximately 2?3 billion tires already stored in piles throughout the country; illegal dumping also is becoming a problem. The tires take up large amounts of valuable landfill space, provide breeding sites for mosquitoes and rodents, and present fire and health hazards.

The proposed approach is based on mercury adsorption on low-cost, sulfur-rich activated carbons derived from scrap tires. The sulfur added to tire rubber in the process of vulcanization makes the tire-derived sorbents particularly effective in mercury removal due to the high chemical affinity between mercury and sulfur. Two implementations of the process are envisaged: (1) sorbent injection into the flue-gas duct (near-term application); and (2) a patented regenerative scheme (long-term application). The overall objective of the Phase I and II projects is to develop a novel and effective technology for mercury control using sorbents derived from waste tires. The specific objective of the Phase I project is to demonstrate the superior mercury-sorption performance of low-cost activated carbons derived from waste tires under simulated industrial conditions. Advanced Fuel Research, Inc. will accomplish this via three tasks: (1) sorbent development (prepare several sorbents with different surface areas, pore-size distributions, and sulfur contents); (2) sorbent testing (determine the effects of temperature, gas composition, the presence of water vapor, sorbent pore-size distribution, sorbent history, etc.); and (3) process assessment.

The main result of this research will be a novel technology for the removal of mercury from combustion/incineration flue gas combined with the simultaneous utilization of massive amounts of solid waste (scrap tires). The obvious applications for the process are coal-fired power plants as well as municipal, medical, and hazardous waste incinerators.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, SO2, NOx, air, flue gas, mercury, emissions, heavy metals, scrap tires., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Toxics, Waste, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Sustainable Industry/Business, Chemical Engineering, Environmental Chemistry, air toxics, cleaner production/pollution prevention, HAPS, Monitoring/Modeling, Civil Engineering, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, Incineration/Combustion, Futures, Exp. Research/future, coal combustion wastes, flue gas , combustion byproducts, mercury, medical waste incinerator, mercury emissions, clean technology, elemental mercury, flue gas, waste tires, emission controls, hazardous waste incinerators, emissions control, mercury sorbents, sorbents, Mercury Compounds, combustion, mercury recovery, flue gas emissions, coal combustion, pollution prevention, coal fired power plants, flue gases, clean combustion, heavy metals, mercury removal

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report
  • SBIR Phase II:

    Low-Cost Mercury Sorbents Derived From Waste Tires  | Final Report