Characterisation of Fuels and Fly Ashes from Co-Combustion of Biofuels and Waste Fuels in a Fluidised Bed Boiler. A Phosphorus and Alkali Perspective
Doktorsavhandling, 2008

In the efforts to create sustainable production of heat and power and to reduce the net CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, alternative fuels are today being utilised. These fuels are, for example, biofuels and waste derived fuels such as different residues from the agricultural sector and the pulp and paper industry, municipal sewage sludge and municipal sorted solid waste. These fuels put new demands on the combustion facilities due to their chemical composition and this in turn calls for methods of prediction for the evaluation of their combustion behaviour. Most significant for the majority of these fuels are the high alkali and chlorine concentrations which cause bed agglomeration, deposit formation and corrosion on heat transfer surfaces. These problems can be solved if sufficient knowledge is obtained of the specific fuel or fuel mix. In this work, chemical fractionation, a step by step leaching method, was used on fuels, fuel mixes and fly ashes from co-combustion in a fluidised bed combustor. In addition, XRD and SEM-EDX were used for the fuel and fly ash characterisation. Different alkali chloride reducing additives i.e. kaolin, zeolites and sulphur were investigated as was the influence of various bed materials: silica sand, olivine sand and blast furnace slag (BFS). Some of the new, alternative fuels, such as municipal sewage sludge and meat and bone meal (MBM) contain high concentrations of phosphorus which is a very important nutrient essential in many biological processes. Phosphorus rock used as raw material in the phosphate industry is a depleting natural resource estimated to last for only 30-200 years according to different sources. The combustion of municipal sewage sludge enriches the phosphorus in the ashes while hazardous components such as pathogens and organic pollutants are rendered harmless after combustion. However, toxic heavy metals are also enriched in the ashes. One aim of the work was to find a sufficiently effective and low cost method for phosphorus extraction from fly ashes derived from municipal sewage sludge combustion. Two types of municipal sewage sludges were investigated using different chemicals for the phosphorus cleaning step in the waste water treatment plants. The first sewage sludge derived from a plant using iron sulphate as flocculant to precipitate phosphorus as iron phosphate. The second sludge meanwhile came from a plant using aluminium sulphate as flocculant to precipitate phosphorus as aluminium phosphate. Both sewage sludges were dewatered prior to combustion and co-combusted with wood pellets. At pH 1 nearly all the phosphorus was released from the fly ash derived from the sewage sludge where aluminium sulphate was used as a phosphorus precipitation agent. Iron sulphate as precipitant inhibited the phosphorus extraction from the ashes, resulting in only 50-80% of the phosphorus being released. Furthermore, the mobility of heavy metals to the leachates was investigated to establish whether the leachates were suitable as fertilisers. Only minor fractions of Pd, Hg, Cr, Cu, Mn, Co, Ni, As, Sb, V and Zn were found in the leachates, all well within the legislated limitations for fertilisers. However, one exception was Cd that was nearly totally dissolved in the leachate. Thus a decadmiation of the leachate is necessary prior to any utilisation of the ashes and reuse of phosphorus as fertiliser.

phosphorus recovery


fluidised bed combustion






refuse derived fuels





municipal sewage sludge

Opponent: Mikko Hupa


Anita Pettersson

Chalmers, Energi och miljö


Oorganisk kemi






Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 2855


Opponent: Mikko Hupa