Chinese scientists have developed a method to inhibit the generation of toxic substances from waste incineration through uncovering the formation mechanism of dioxins.
The research carried out by scientists of the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has led to the development of inhibition technologies which can reduce emissions of dioxins by more than half in solid waste incineration.
A large amount of highly toxic chlorinated aromatic compounds are emitted during solid waste incineration. Substances especially dioxins are listed as persistent organic pollutants by the United Nations Environment Program, due to their carcinogenic, teratogenic and mutagenic effects.
Chen Jiping and Zhang Haijun, the chief scientists leading the research, based in northeast China’s Liaoning Province, studied the effects of metal oxides and chlorides on the chlorination of aromatic compounds by simulating the reaction of incineration smoke.
“The chlorination process is a key step to control the formation of the toxic compounds in incineration gas,” Chen said. “We found copper and iron chlorides are the key active substances to promote the chlorination of naphthalene.”
With the theory, they have successfully inhibited the outputs of dioxins in three large-scale solid waste incineration power plants in China by more than half.
The research result was published in the latest issue of the international science journal Environmental Science and Technology.