Continental Research and Engineering, LLC (CR&E) is assessing the feasibility of utilizing non-thermal plasma technology for mercury removal from combustion process flue gas streams. Mercury generated from anthropogenic sources presents a difficult environmental problem. Mercury and mercury compounds are highly toxic, and organic forms such as methyl mercury can bioaccumulate. Federal regulations are in place directing industries to remove mercury from the flue gas stream. In practice, many industries will be unable to meet the proposed limits for mercury emissions by using currently available technologies.
The CR&E technology employs non-thermal, plasma-jet devices to provide a method for elemental mercury removal from a gas phase by targeting relevant chemical reactions to produce ionized mercury. The ionized mercury compounds are recoverable using conventional stack cleanup methods such as fabric filters, electrostatic precipitators, or wet scrubbers.
CR&E is conducting experiments that react a mercury-containing gas mixture with a plasma-activated species to form mercury compounds that can be efficiently removed from flue gas using conventional downstream technologies. Measurement of mercury in the gas stream and condensed phases will be used to evaluate process efficiency.Experimental results will be utilized for performing an engineering analysis to evaluate commercial applications of the technology. For example, this device may be utilized for treatment of flue gas streams from incinerators, boilers, other combustors, utilities, refineries, smelters, manufacturing, and other facilities. The analysis will include consideration of process scaling, capital, and operating costs.