Assessing Mercury Oxidation Performance of Gold Based Oxidation Catalysts

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Due to imminent EPA regulations regarding trace metal release from coal-fired utility boilers, it is imperative that methods for their capture are developed. A major focus of research is aimed at analyzing possible mercury capture processes, which include indirect capture via oxidation or direct capture via adsorption. The current research is focused on establishing the oxidation performance of gold catalysts, through the use of a bench-scale packed-bed reactor and surface element characterization methods such as X-Ray Photoemission Spectroscopy. The adsorption of mercury on these catalysts is also investigated since it has been found that some level of adsorption occurs before steady-state oxidation is achieved. To simulate the flue gas methane is burned in air with SO2 and NOx components doped into the stream after the flame. Analysis of oxidation behavior in the presence of halogens such as Cl2 and Br2 will play a vital role in identifying surface reaction mechanisms of flue gas streams with catalyst beds, which is currently an area of much debate. Halogen species are introduced along with Hg into the flame to ensure the presence of short-lived radical species, which are known to play a vital role in mercury oxidation in coal-fired utility boiler. We will also examine the surface structure of the noble metal catalysts on á- and ã-Al2O3 supports in order to better understand the surface interactions occurring on the surface during the oxidation process. Mercury pollution from coal-fired utilities is of major concern, and development in this area of technology will play a vital role in minimizing the impact of future coal-generated electricity.


Type of resource text
Date created June 2011


Author Sestak, Ondrej
Primary advisor Wilcox, Jennifer
Degree granting institution Stanford University, Department of Energy Resources Engineering


Subject School of Earth Energy & Environmental Sciences
Genre Thesis

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Sestak, Ondrej. (2011). Assessing Mercury Oxidation Performance of Gold Based Oxidation Catalysts. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at:


Master's Theses, Doerr School of Sustainability

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