Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 622–631 | Cite as

Thermal decomposition characteristics of mercury compounds in industrial sludge with high sulfur content

  • Seung-Ki Back
  • Dhruba Bhatta
  • Seong-Heon Kim
  • Ha-Na Jang
  • Jeong-Hun Kim
  • Ki-Heon Kim
  • Young-Ran Kim
  • Yong-Chil Seo


Sludge generated from metal smelting processes may contain a large amount of mercury with high sulfur content. A sludge roasting technology could be used to recover mercury from such sludge. Thermo-gravimetric analysis was employed to investigate the thermal decomposition properties of mercury and mass in the sludge. At elevated temperatures ranged from 200 to 650 °C at interval of 25 °C, total mass losses of sludge and mercury decomposition from the sludge containing over 2000 ppm of mercury were experimentally investigated. At temperatures of 200–325 °C, the decomposition rate of mercury from the sludge was very low and then the decomposition was taken place very rapidly from 350 to 575 °C. As the discrete mercury decomposition data at elevated temperatures were smoothened by least square method, the kinetic parameters of mercury decomposition reaction were determined for two different temperature zones. The decomposition of mercury could be correlated with thermal mass degradation of the sludge experimented. By comparing derivative thermo-gravimetric results for mercury in the sludge with high sulfur content and pure mercury compound species, HgS and Hg2SO4 were found to be the dominant form of mercury in the sludge due to high content of sulfur.


Mercury Sulfur-containing sludge Roasting technology Thermal decomposition Kinetics 



This research was supported by Korea Ministry of Environment for the project of "Advanced Technology Program for Environmental Industry" and it was also supported by Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) (No. 20164030201250).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare the there is no conflict of interest.


  1. 1.
    U.S. EPA Office of Air Quality Planning & Standards and Office of Research and Development (1997) Mercury study report to congress, U.S. EPA, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    European Commission (2001) Ambient air pollution by mercury (Hg)-position paper. Office of Official Publications of the European Communities, LuxembourgGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    UNEP (2013) Minamata convention on mercury text and annexes. UNEP, Nairobu, KenyaGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    UNEP, ISWA (2015) Practical sourcebook on mercury waste storage and disposal DT/1873/GE. UNEP, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Stergaršek A, Horvat M, Kotnik J, Tratnik J, Frkal P, Kocman D, Jaćimović R, Fajon V, Ponikvar M, Hrastel I, Lenart J, Debeljak B, Čujež M (2008) The role of flue gas desulphurisation in mercury speciation and distribution in a lignite burning power plant. Fuel 87:3504–3512CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Kim JH, Pudasainee D, Yoon YS, Son SU, Seo YC (2010) Studies on speciation changes and mass distribution of mercury in a bituminous coal-fired power plant by combining field data and chemical equilibrium calculation. Ind Eng Chem Res 49:5197–5203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Narvaes DM (2013) Development of a practical sourcebook on mercury storage and disposal. Global mercury partnership 3rd waste management partnership area meeting, Manila, PhilippinesGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Takaoka M, Hamaguchi D, Shinmura R, Sekiguchi T, Tokuichi H (2017) Removal of mercury using processes involving sulfuric acid during zinc production in an imperial smelting process (ISP) plant. J Mater Cycles Waste Manag 19:863–869CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Zhang L, Wang S, Wu Q, Meng Y, Yang H, Wang F, Hao J (2012) Were mercury emission factors for Chinese non-ferrous metal smelters overestimated? Evidence from onsite measurements in six smelters. Environ Pollut 171:109–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Chung D, Choi HH, Yoo HY, Lee JY, Shin SK, Park JM, Kim J (2017) Mercury flows in a zinc smelting facility in South Korea. J Mater Cycles Waste Manag 19:46–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Hugli TE, Moore S (1972) Determination of the tryptophan content of proteins by ion exchange chromatography of alkaline hydrolysates. J Biol Chem 247:2828–2834Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ritter JA, Bibler J (1992) Removal of mercury from waste water: large-scale performance of an ion exchange process. Water Sci Technol 25:165–172Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Monteagudo JM, Ortiz MJ (2000) Removal of inorganic mercury from mine waste water by ion exchange. J Chem Technol Biotechnol 75:767–772CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Easterly CE, Vass AA, Tyndall RL (1997) Method for the removal and recovery of mercury. Martin Marietta Energy Systems Inc., Oak RidgeGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Coskun S, Civelekoglu G (2015) Recovery of mercury from spent fluorescent lamps via oxidative leaching and cementation. Water Air Soil Pollut 226:196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ku Y, Wu MH, Shen YS (2002) Mercury removal from aqueous solutions by zinc cementation. Waste Manag 22:721–726CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Twidwell LG, Thompson RJ (2001) Recovering and recycling Hg from chlor-alkali plant wastewater sludge. JOM 53:15–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Durão WA, de Castro CA, Windmöller CC (2008) Mercury reduction studies to facilitate the thermal decontamination of phosphor powder residues from spent fluorescent lamps. Waste Manag 28:2311–2319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Jang M, Hong SM, Park JK (2005) Characterization and recovery of mercury from spent fluorescent lamps. Waste Manag 25:5–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Chang TC, Chen C, Lee Y, You S (2010) Mercury recovery from cold cathode fluorescent lamps using thermal desorption technology. Waste Manag Res 28:455–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Lee CH, Popuri SR, Peng YH, Fang SS, Lin KL, Fan KS, Chang TC (2015) Overview on industrial recycling technologies and management strategies of end-of-life fluorescent lamps in Taiwan and other developed countries. J Mater Cycles Waste Manag 17:312–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Das B, Prakash S, Reddy PSR, Misra VN (2007) An overview of utilization of slag and sludge from steel industries. Resour Conserv Recycl 50:40–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    L’Vov BV (1999) Kinetics and mechanism of thermal decomposition of mercuric oxide. Thermochim Acta 333:21–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Busto Y, Tack FM, Peralta LM, Cabrera X, Arteaga-Pérez LE (2013) An investigation on the modelling of kinetics of thermal decomposition of hazardous mercury wastes. J Hazard Mater 260:358–367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Rumayor M, Diaz-Somoano M, Lopez-Anton MA, Martinez-Tarazona MR (2013) Mercury compounds characterization by thermal desorption. Talanta 114:318–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Rumayor M, Diaz-Somoano M, Lopez-Anton MA, Martinez-Tarazona MR (2015) Application of thermal desorption for the identification of mercury species in solids derived from coal utilization. Chemosphere 119:459–465CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Sedlar M, Pavlin M, Popovič A, Horvat M (2015) Temperature stability of mercury compounds in solid substrates. Open Chem 13:404–419Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Sedlar M, Pavlin M, Jaćimović R, Stergaršek A, Frkal P, Horvat M (2015) Temperature fractionation (TF) of Hg compounds in gypsum from wet flue gas desulfurization system of the coal fired thermal power plant (TPP). Am J Anal Chem 6:939–956CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Wu S, Uddin MA, Nagano S, Ozaki M, Sasaoka E (2011) Fundamental study on decomposition characteristics of mercury compounds over solid Powder by temperature-programmed decomposition desorption mass spectrometry. Energy Fuels 25:144–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    U.S. EPA (1994) Mercury in solid or semisolid waste (manual cold-vapor technique) method 7471A. U.S. EPA, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Freeman ES, Carroll B (1958) The application of thermoanalytical techniques to reaction kinetics: the thermogravimetric evaluation of the kinetics of the decomposition of calcium oxalate monohydrate. J Phys Chem 62:394–397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Chatterjee PK, Conrad CM (1968) Thermogravimetric analysis of cellulose. J Polym Sci Part A-1 Polym Chem 6:3217–3233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Zhao T, Wang X, Yang X, Yan X, Nie Z, Huang Q (2017) Thermogravimetric and XRD study of the effects of chloride salts on the thermal decomposition of mercury compounds. J Mater Cycles Waste Manag 19:712–717CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Pudasainee D, Seo YC, Kim JH, Jang HN (2013) Fate and behavior of selected heavy metals with mercury mass distribution in a fluidized bed sewage sludge incinerator. J Mater Cycles Waste Manag 15:202–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Caballero JA, Front R, Marcilla A, Conesa JA (1997) Characterization of sewage sludges by primary and secondary pyrolysis. J Anal Appl Pyrol 40–41:433–450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    WHO (2003) Elemental mercury and inorganic mercury compounds: human health aspects Concise International Chemical Assessment Document 50. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Mansaray KG, Ghaly AE (1999) Determination of kinetic parameters of rice husks in oxygen using thermogravimetric analysis. Biomass Bioenerg 17:19–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Parthasarathy P, Narayanan SK (2014) Determination of kinetic parameters of biomass samples using thermogravimetric analysis. Environ Prog Sustain Energy 33:256–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Gu Y, Zhuang P, Liu F (2010) An advanced implicit meshless approach for the non-linear anomalous subdiffusion equation. Comput Model Eng Sci 56:303–334MathSciNetMATHGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    CTI Reviews (2016) Principles of general chemistry, Cram101 TextbookGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Lopez-Anton MA, Yuan Y, Perry R, Maroto-Valer MM (2010) Analysis of mercury species present during coal combustion by thermal desorption. Fuel 89:629–634CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Tariq SA, Hill JO (1981) Thermal analysis of mercury(I) sulfate and mercury(II) sulfate. J Therm Anal 21:277–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Davis ME, Davis RJ (2013) Fundamentals of chemical reaction engineering. Dover Publications, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental EngineeringYonsei UniversityWonjuRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.National Institute of Environment ResearchIncheonRepublic of Korea

Personalised recommendations