In February 1998, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a report citing mercury emissions from electric utilities as the largest remaining anthropogenic source of mercury released to the air. EPA officials estimated that about 50 tons of elemental mercury are emitted each year from U.S. coal-burning powerplants, with lesser amounts coming from oil- and gas-burning units. US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data indicates that coal combustion in power plants now accounts for 43% of mercury air emissions generated in the US. Human activity is the main cause of mercury releases, particularly from coal-fired power stations; residential coal burning for heating and cooking; industrial processes; waste incinerators; and as a result of mining for mercury, gold and other metals. 4 Mercury Types From Power Plants CCTR Indiana Center for Coal Technology Research • 40% of Hg from power plants is Oxidized Hg 60% of Hg from power plants is Elemental Hg • Most of the Oxidized Hg and all of the Elemental Hg is carried away by the wind • Oxidized Hg is water-soluble.A small amount of the oxidized Hg ends up in water The main focus on regulatory control for mercury at the moment is the reduction of mercury air emissions from coal fired power plants. Coal itself isn’t a particularly toxic material. However, unlike sulfur, mercury emissions also vary with the abundance of other elements in the coal such as chlorine and sulfur, which influence the amount of mercury removed by emission control technologies. Furthermore, mercury emissions from similar types of power plants are largely correlated with the amount of mercury in the coal. Ohio emmited the largest amount of mercury from coal-fired power plants (21 percent of the total in the Great Lakes region), followed closely by Pennsylvania (20 percent) and Indiana (16 percent). Although coal contains only low concentrations of mercury, it is burnt in very large volumes. And despite a growing number of countries moving away from coal, global demand is expected to remain steady over the next 5 years. Mercury stored in coal deposits displays a wide range of both mass dependent fractionation (MDF, δ202Hg) and mass independent fractionation (MIF, Δ201Hg). But after it's burned, what remains in the ash includes lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, arsenic, and selenium, all … Combining these two Hg isotope signals results in what may be a unique isotopic “fingerprint” for many coal deposits. Being highly volatile (it vaporizes at temperature as low as 150°C; Finkelman, 1981), mercury poses a special problem for electric utilities. Inorganic constituents in coal have a significant effect on almost every aspect of coal utilization as well as its impact on the environment. American Lung Association.. Coal-fired power plants are the largest U.S. source of mercury, and the 2012 pollution-control requirements prompted a wave of closures of the facilities. δ202Hg varies in coals by 3‰ and Δ201Hg varies by 0.9‰. 1.1 These test methods cover procedures to determine the total mercury content in a sample of coal or coal combustion residue. about the significance of mercury releases to land and water from coal-fired power plants, as well as coal washing. 1.2 Units— The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. Over 13,000 pounds of mercury was emitted by the 144+ coal plants into the air in 2010. Mercury (Hg) is one of the elements of special environmental concern. 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