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Were mercury emission factors for Chinese non-ferrous metal smelters overestimated? Evidence from onsite measurements in six smelters

Non-ferrous metal smelting takes up a large proportion of the anthropogenic mercury emission inventory in China. Zinc, lead and copper smelting are three leading sources. Onsite measurements of mercury emissions were conducted for six smelters. The mercury emission factors were 0.09e2.98 g Hg/t metal produced. Acid plants with the double-conversion double-absorption process had mercury removal efficiency of over 99%. In the flue gas after acid plants, 45e88% was oxidized mercury which can be easily scavenged in the flue gas scrubber. 70e97% of the mercury was removed from the flue gas to the waste water and 1e17% to the sulfuric acid product. Totally 0.3e13.5% of the mercury in the metal concentrate was emitted to the atmosphere. Therefore, acid plants in non-ferrous metal smelters have significant cobenefit on mercury removal, and the mercury emission factors from Chinese non-ferrous metal smelters were probably overestimated in previous studies.


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