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14 May 2001

From Heidelberg at the Envitec: Trace metal analysis in process gas of combustion plants

Heidelberg University offers a fast-responding, ultrasensitive on-line measuring method for the determination of alkalis and heavy metals in industrial flue gases. The measurement technology will be presented at ENVITEC for the first time (Hall 9, F07)

The corrosion, slagging and fouling effects of alkali and some heavy metal species during the conversion of solid fuels is well known. Particularly parts of power plants such as turbine blades in gas turbines are exposed to these aggressive substances. In addition, new, more stringent limits for several heavy metals have been introduced by the EU because of their toxicity. To be able to monitor the release of such species, a new method for determination of gaseous alkali and heavy metal species in process gas has been developed in the Physical Chemistry Institute at the University of Heidelberg. The measurement is performed by a purely optical, i.e. in-situ technique. This means that sampling, as in conventional methods, is dispensed with. In this way, all problems due to possible sampling losses during sampling, preparation and path to analysis are avoided. The measuring method ELIF, which is presented here, employs laser light as an "optical probe", to excite fluorescence >from the metal atoms of interest, via a fragmentation process. For example, alkali species can be detected with sub-ppb sensitivity and with a time resolution of 10 s. In addition, continuous measurements are feasible over complete operating periods. The technology was already tested successfully under genuine industrial conditions, even at high dust loads, in various combustion facilities up to pilot scale.

    Features of ELIF
  • Time resolution 10 s
  • Sensitivity down to 0.1 vppb (Na & K)
  • Dynamic range ca. 5 orders of magnitude
  • Non-intrusive continuous measurement without physical sampling
  • Measurements also feasible at high dust loads
  • Robust, transportable set-up

Industrial partners sought

    Industrial partners are sought for the further development of ELIF with respect to applications such as
  • Monitoring of alkali species before the entrance to gas turbines, in particular on start-up and changing fuel;
  • Screening of solid fuels (also biomass) with respect to their alkali and heavy metal release;
  • Investigation of slagging and fouling behaviour;
  • Heavy metal detection on combusiton of solid fuels and heavy oils;
  • Phase (gas/solid) discrimination, in conjunction with complementary methods, e.g. wet chemical.

Please address any inquiries to:
PD Dr. Penelope Monkhouse
Physikalisch-Chemisches Institut der Universität Heidelberg
Tel. (Sekr.) 06221 548463., Fax 544255
Tel. (direkt) 06221 544938 oder 0170-6929790; Fax 544255

Dr. Jörg Kraus, Technologietransfer der Universität Heidelberg
Tel. 06221 542204, Fax 543599

Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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Updated: 14.05.2001


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