Thermal plasma treatment of stormwater sediments: comparison between DC non-transferred and partially transferred arc plasma
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The disposal of enormous amount of stormwater sediments becomes an emerging worldwide problem. Stormwater sediments are contaminated by heavy metals, phosphorus, trace organic and hydrocarbons, and cannot be disposed without treatment. Thermal plasma decontamination technology offers a high decomposition rate in a wide range of toxic organic compound and immobilization of heavy metal. In this study, we compared the treatment results between two different modes of thermal plasma: (1) a non-transferred direct current (DC) mode and (2) a partial DC-transferred mode. The reductions of total organic carbon (TOC) were, respectively, 25% and 80% for non-transferred and partially transferred plasma, respectively. Most of the toxic organic compounds were converted majorly to CxHy. In the gaseous emission, the accumulated CxHy, CO, NO and H2S were significantly higher in partially transferred mode than in non-transferred mode. The solid analysis demonstrated that the concentrations of Ca and Fe were enriched by 500% and 40%, respectively. New chemical compositions such as KAlSi3O8, Fe3O4, NaCl and CaSO4 were formed after treatment in partially DC-transferred mode. The power inputs were 1 and 10 kW, respectively, for non-transferred DC mode and a partially DC-transferred mode. With a lower energy input, non-transferred plasma treatment can be used for decontamination of sediments with low TOC and metal concentration. Meanwhile, partially transferred thermal plasma with higher energy input is suitable for treating sediments with high TOC percentage and volatile metal concentration. The organic compounds are converted into valuable gaseous products which can be recycled as an energy source.
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