Characterization of airborne trace metal and trace organic species from coal gasification

James F. Osborn, Suresh Santhanam, Cliff I. Davidson, Richard D. Flotard, Joseph R. Stetter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Fugitive emissions from a slagging fixed-bed coal-gasification pilot plant were analyzed by flameless atomic absorption spectrophotometry, gas chromatography, and mass spectrometry for trace metal and trace organic species. Analysis of the size distributions of airborne particulate matter inside the plant showed an abundance of large metal-containing particles; outdoor distributions in the vicinity of the plant resembled the indoor distributions, suggesting the importance of the gasifier in influencing ambient air quality. This conclusion was further supported by identification of similar organic compounds inside and outside the plant. Trace element enrichment factors based on the earth's crustal composition were greater than those based on the composition of the lignite used in the gasifier, showing the importance of characterizing the proper source material when inverstigating chemical fraction during aerosol formation. Enrichments in the present study were much greater than those found in previous sampling during aborted start-up and cleaning procedures, where normal operating temperatures had not yet been reached. Both studies showed evidence of enrichment factors which decreased with increasing particle size. Although much of the airborne mass was associated with large particles having low respirability, the high concentrations of some metals indoors suggests that further assessment of potential occupational exposures is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-333
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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