Main content area

Characteristics of incineration ash for sustainable treatment and reutilization

Phua, Zhenghui, Giannis, Apostolos, Dong, Zhi-Li, Lisak, Grzegorz, Ng, Wun Jern
Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.17 pp. 16974-16997
X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, air pollution control, aluminum oxide, bottom ash, calcium oxide, carbonation, cement, electrochemistry, fly ash, heavy metals, leaching, mass spectrometry, melting, mixing, municipal solid waste, silica, solidification, soluble salts, toxicity, vitrification, washing, waste incineration
Municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) generates bottom ash, fly ash (FA), and air pollution control (APC) residues as by-products. FA and APC residues are considered hazardous due to the presence of soluble salts and a high concentration of heavy metals, and they should be appropriately treated before disposal. Physicochemical characterization using inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) have shown that FA and APC have potential for reuse after treatment as these contain CaO, SiO₂, and Al₂O₃. Studies conducted on treatment of FA and APC are categorized into three groups: (i) separation processes, (ii) solidification/stabilization (S/S) processes, and (iii) thermal processes. Separation processes such as washing, leaching, and electrochemical treatment improve the quality and homogeneity of the ash. S/S processes such as chemical stabilization, accelerate carbonation, and cement solidification modify hazardous species into less toxic constituents. Thermal processes such as sintering, vitrification, and melting are effective at reducing volume and producing a more stable product. In this review paper, the treatment processes are analyzed in relation to ash characteristics. Issues concerning mixing FA and APC residues before treatment, true treatment costs, and challenges are also discussed to provide further insights on the implications and possibilities of utilizing FA and APC as secondary materials.