How to tackle the technical challenges of continuous mercury emissions monitoring

Many pollutants such as CO2, NOx and SO2 have been monitored continuously already for decades. In the last years, the awareness of the need to measure mercury has also grown, and continuous mercury monitoring is becoming more and more relevant.

Especially industries burning coal, oil or waste, share the responsibility to monitor their mercury emissions. Due to its sticky quality and extremely low concentration levels in industrial emissions, mercury can be a challenging component to measure. All measuring techniques need to be able to tackle the challenges mercury monitoring presents.

Various forms of mercury

First of all, mercury is occurring in various forms, including elemental mercury and mercury compounds, as well as mercury that is bound to dust particles. Flue gas includes elemental mercury Hg0 and oxidized mercury Hg2+ in the form of HgCl2.

Most continuous mercury measurement methods are based on measuring elemental mercury. This means that the oxidized mercury compounds must be converted to elemental mercury before the measurement. It has to be made sure that none of the mercury compounds are lost before the conversion, and also that there is no recombination of mercury compounds afterward. This can be achieved with system design and careful material selection, for instance.

Ensure the reliability and quality of the measurement with an extremely sensitive technology

Other features expected from mercury monitoring systems are low cross-sensitivity of the system and stable calibration check routines. Cross-interference effects need to be minimized especially as the mercury concentrations are very low compared to other gases in the stack gas. The quality of the measurements can be tested with frequent adjustments and checks. Check routines are preferred to be automatic and adjustable by the user if needed. Especially CVAF (Cold Vapor Atomic Fluorescence) technique, due to its low detection limit, enables diluting the sample gas. With dilution, cross-interference effects from other gases like SO2 and O2 can be eliminated.

From low to high concentrations

Secondly, the mercury concentrations are really low compared to other gas compounds. The concentrations are generally few µg/m3 in waste incineration and power plants. These extremely low concentrations naturally require that the measurement technique has low detection limits.

With this in mind, it should be noted that depending on the application and plant, there can also be relatively high concentration peaks from time to time. Because of that the measuring system has to be able to withstand and detect those peaks as reliably as the lower concentrations.

The Gasmet CMM systems are designed for continuous measurements of total gaseous Hg emissions ensuring accurate measurements of extremely low and high concentrations of Mercury. Reliable system and extremely sensitive technology based on the CVAF (cold vapor atomic fluorescence), the high sensitivity and selectivity of the fluorescence technique ensures that extremely low mercury levels can be measured accurately.

Gasmet’s CMM systems have successfully completed the EN15267-3 testing with the world’s lowest EN15267 certified range (0 to 5 µg/m3) for measurements of total mercury. This new world record makes our CMM systems future-proof for declining emission limits With its highest certified range up to 1000 µg/m3 it also measures even higher concentration peaks.

Continuous or non-continuous emission monitoring

Non-continuous methods do not provide sufficient insight for process control. In addition, by measuring process emissions over a short period of time, non-continuous methods risk failing to provide sufficient information on the variability of mercury emissions over time and between differing feedstocks.

Continuous monitoring is a particular advantage where abatement systems can be adjusted according to the mercury levels in the plant emissions. Where flue gas treatment is used to achieve lower mercury emissions, continuous monitoring data can be used for example to optimize sorbent injection rates.

With Gasmet’s full CMM solution package you will have a certified and fully automatic system that is future-proof for declining emission limits and easy to operate.

Continuous emission monitoring systems require an ongoing quality assurance process (QAL3). CMM AutoQal makes QAL3 easier and more cost-efficient with its fully integrated QAL3 validation with its integrated fully automatic validation tool. Find our Practical Guide to QAL3.

Mercury Emission Monitoring (CMM & CMM AutoQAL)

Continuous Mercury Monitoring systems CMM AutoQAL and CMM are the perfect solutions for monitoring mercury continuously from hot, wet and corrosive gas streams. These future-proof systems have the lowest certified range in the world (0-5 µg/m3) and CMM AutoQAL has an automatic and integrated QAL3 validation tool.

Learn more here

CMM AutoQAL system