Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Mercury-containing species and carbon dioxide adsorption studies on inorganic compounds using density functional theory
by Kim, Bo Gyeong, Ph.D., The University of Arizona, 2010, 233; 3413151
Abstract (Summary)

The goal of this research is to obtain the adsorption mechanisms of toxic mercury-containing species (Hg, HgCl and HgCl2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) on inorganic solid surfaces using theoretically predicted results because experiments have been unable to unravel the involved issues. The understanding of the adsorption mechanisms of the mercury species and carbon dioxide from flue gases is important when considering mercury capture from coal-fired power plants, artisanal gold mining, and cement manufacturing industries. The current research attempts to explain each adsorption mechanism for mercury species, and those for carbon dioxide adsorption, on the surfaces through optimized geometries, energies and thermodynamic data. To investigate this research, density functional theory, which is one of useful tools for analyzing reactions on solid surfaces, was used to determine first principles-based theoretical adsorption models. Mainly, results from computational work indicate that mercury-containing species and carbon dioxide adsorption on calcium oxide surfaces and elemental mercury adsorption on a gehlenite surface are exothermic reactions. Calcium oxide is a promising adsorbent for oxidized mercury (HgCl and HgCl2), but not for elemental Hg. Interestingly, the elemental mercury, which is the major form (> 90%) in the flue gases of the coal-combustion power plants, is chemisorbed on a gehlenite surface, which is partially composed of calcium oxide and comes from a mineral transition at high temperature. Strong adsorption on this inorganic sorbent is enhanced at high temperatures even though this adsorption process is exothermic. In addition, CaO surfaces are effective at capturing CO2, generating calcium carbonate compounds at flue gas temperatures, and water vapor enhances its adsorbability due to a larger CO2 adsorption energy. The current research shows that inorganic sorbents are not only effective in removing the elemental and oxidized forms of mercury but also in mineralizing CO2 at high temperatures into a solid form. The mercury species and carbon dioxide adsorption mechanisms investigated in this research may be utilized in the application of more efficient mercury and carbon dioxide control technologies. Future work will examine the reaction transition state and predict the kinetic data of the carbonation reactions, and, additionally, may prove the hypothesis that H2O molecules play a role as catalysts, increasing reaction rates.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Blowers, Paul
Commitee: Corrales, Rene, Muscat, Anthony J., Saez, Eduardo
School: The University of Arizona
Department: Chemical Engineering
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-B 71/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Environmental Studies, Physical chemistry, Chemical engineering
Keywords: Adsorption, Carbon dioxide, Inorganic compounds, Mercury
Publication Number: 3413151
ISBN: 978-1-124-13296-9
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