Computational Modeling of the Electrohydrodynamics Influencing Trace Mercury Adsorption within Electric Utility Electrostatic Precipitators

H. Clack[1]
[1]University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Anthropogenic mercury (Hg) emissions increase the risk of neurological and neonatal health effects in humans through fish consumption. There are several technological approaches to controlling mercury emissions from coal combustion, including the injection of a powdered mercury sorbent into the flue gas upstream of the particulate control device (PCD). As most PCDs are electrostatic precipitators (ESPs), the process depends on the interplay of physico-chemical phenomena. Mercury removal occurs by adsorption from the interface between the suspended particles and the gas. COMSOL Multiphysics® was used to evaluate the coupled electric and space charge fields, velocity field, and particle volume fraction distribution and trajectories. These simulations reveal the first detailed interrogation of the electro-hydrodynamic phenomena occurring within ESPs acting as both PCDs and trace gas adsorbers.