Zinc Isotopic Composition of Particulate Matter Generated during the Combustion of Coal and Coal + Tire-Derived Fuels


Atmospheric Zn emissions from the burning of coal and tire-derived fuel (TDF) for power generation can be considerable. In an effort to lay the foundation for tracking these contributions, we evaluated the Zn isotopes of coal, a mixture of 95 wt % coal + 5 wt % TDF, and the particulate matter (PM) derived from their combustion in a power-generating plant. The average Zn concentrations and δ66Zn were 36 mg/kg and 183 mg/kg and +0.24‰ and +0.13‰ for the coal and coal + TDF, respectively. The δ66Zn of the PM sequestered in the cyclone-type mechanical separator was the lightest measured, -0.48‰ for coal and -0.81‰ for coal+TDF. The δ66Zn of the PM from the electrostatic precipitator showed a slight enrichment in the heavier Zn isotopes relative to the starting material. PM collected from the stack had the heaviest δ66Zn in the system, +0.63‰ and +0.50‰ for the coal and coal + TDF, respectively. Initial fractionation during the generation of a Zn-rich vapor is followed by temperature-dependent fractionation as Zn condenses onto the PM. The isotopic changes of the two fuel types are similar, suggesting that their inherent chemical differences have only a secondary impact on the isotopic fractionation process.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Combustion of coal; Fuel types; Generating plants; Isotopic composition; Isotopic fractionations; Particulate Matter; Secondary impacts; Starting materials; Temperature dependent; Tire-derived fuel; Air pollution; Coal; Coal industry; Electrostatic precipitators; Electrostatic separators; Fuels; Isotopes; Storms; Zinc; Coal combustion; fossil fuel; isotope; atmospheric plume; atmospheric pollution; combustion; isotopic fractionation; power generation; tire; chemical composition; coal power; electric power plant; electrostatic precipitation; Air Pollutants; Chemical Fractionation; Environmental Monitoring; Hot Temperature; Incineration; Particle Size; Power Plants; Zinc Isotopes

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2010 American Chemical Society (ACS), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 2010