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Issue 9, 2013
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Nanomaterial disposal by incineration

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As nanotechnology-based products enter into widespread use, nanomaterials will end up in disposal waste streams that are ultimately discharged to the environment. One possible end-of-life scenario is incineration. This review attempts to ascertain the potential pathways by which nanomaterials may enter incinerator waste streams and the fate of these nanomaterials during the incineration process. Although the literature on incineration of nanomaterials is scarce, results from studies of their behavior at high temperature or in combustion environments for other applications can help predict their fate within an incinerator. Preliminary evidence suggests nanomaterials may catalyze the formation or destruction of combustion by-products. Depending on their composition, nanomaterials may undergo physical and chemical transformations within the incinerator, impacting their partitioning within the incineration system (e.g., bottom ash, fly ash) and the effectiveness of control technology for removing them. These transformations may also drastically affect nanomaterial transport and impacts in the environment. Current regulations on incinerator emissions do not specifically address nanomaterials, but limits on particle and metal emissions may prove somewhat effective at reducing the release of nanomaterials in incinerator effluent. Control technology used to meet these regulations, such as fabric filters, electrostatic precipitators, and wet electrostatic scrubbers, are expected to be at least partially effective at removing nanomaterials from incinerator flue gas.

Graphical abstract: Nanomaterial disposal by incineration

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Publication details

The article was received on 29 Apr 2013, accepted on 11 Jul 2013 and first published on 11 Jul 2013

Article type: Critical Review
DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00224A
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2013,15, 1652-1664
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    Nanomaterial disposal by incineration

    A. L. Holder, E. P. Vejerano, X. Zhou and L. C. Marr, Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2013, 15, 1652
    DOI: 10.1039/C3EM00224A

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