In Situ Optical Absorption Mercury Continuous Emission Monitor


Thiebaud, J., Thomson, M. J., Mani, R., Morrow, W. H., Morris, E. A., & Jia, C. Q. (2009). In situ optical absorption mercury continuous emission monitor. Environmental science & technology, 43(24), 9294-9299.


This paper reports the development of an in situ continuous emission monitor (CEM) for measuring elemental mercury (Hg0) concentration in the exhaust stream of coal-fired power plants. The instrument is based on the ultraviolet atomic absorption of a mercury lamp emission line by elemental mercury and a light-emitting diode (LED) background correction system. This approach allows an in situ measurement since the absorption of other species such as SO2 can be removed to monitor the Hg0 contribution only. Proof of concept was established through a laboratory-based investigation, and a limit of detection, [Hg0]min, of 2 μg/m3 was measured for a 1-min averaged sample and an absorption path length of 49 cm. [Hg0]min is anticipated to be better than 0.2 μg/m3 across a 7 m diameter stack. Finally, the apparatus was field-tested in a 230 MW coal-fired power plant. The operability of the measurement in real conditions was demonstrated, leading to the first Hg0 concentration values recorded by the in situ CEM. Comparison with an accepted standard method is required for validation.

Read more from SRI