Release of gold (Au), silver (Ag) and cerium dioxide (CeO2) nanoparticles from sewage sludge incineration ash
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported
Engineered nanoparticles (NPs) that are released into wastewater are retained by wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and accumulate in sewage sludge. Increasing shares of sludge are incinerated and landfilled, especially in industrialized countries. It is debated whether certain types of NPs can outlive the incineration process and subsequently be released from sewage sludge ash (SSA) landfills. To investigate the release of different types of NPs from SSA, we spiked gold (Au), silver (Ag) and cerium dioxide (CeO2) NPs to a pilot WWTP increasing the Au, Ag and Ce concentrations to 30, 43 and 389 mg kg−1 (dry matter basis) in the digested sludge. The spiked sludge was incinerated in a pilot fluidized bed reactor resulting in SSA with Au, Ag and Ce concentrations of 61, 103 and 854 mg kg−1. In addition, two sludge samples from a full-scale WWTP with Au concentrations of 5 and 16 mg kg−1 were incinerated, resulting in SSA with 9 mg kg−1 and 30 mg kg−1 Au. The spiked Au-NPs remain largely unaltered during the wastewater treatment and incineration process, whereas Ag-NPs and CeO2-NPs undergo transformation. During simulated landfill leaching in columns flushed with 400 to 500 pore volumes of artificial rainwater, Ag and Ce were retained in the ash, whereas about 17% of the spiked Au was released, mainly in particulate form. Lower fractions of mostly particulate Au were released from the ashes (3 and 9%) of unspiked SSA. In conclusion, unaltered Au-NPs significantly leach from landfilled SSA, whereas the incorporation of Ag-NPs and CeO2-NPs as transformed species into the SSA matrix limits the leaching of (nano)particulate and dissolved Ag and Ce compounds. Show more
Journal / seriesEnvironmental Science: Nano
Pages / Article No.
PublisherRoyal Society of Chemistry
Organisational unit03865 - Müller, Christoph R. / Müller, Christoph R.
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