Zhiyong Li 1, Huiqiao Ma1, Lin Fan1, Peng Zhao1, Lei Wang2, Yunjun Jiang2, Caixiu An2, Aiqin Liu2, Zishu Hu3, Hui Jin

  • 1 School of Environmental Science and Engineering, North China Electric Power University, Baoding, Hebei 071000, China
  • 2 Central Laboratory of Geology and Mineral Resources of Hebei Province, Baoding, Hebei 071003, China, China
  • 3 Electric Power Research Institute of State Grid Xinjiang Electric Power Company, Urumqi 830000, China

Received: August 31, 2017
Revised: September 11, 2017
Accepted: September 12, 2017
Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2017.08.0296  

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Cite this article:
Li, Z., Ma, H., Fan, L., Zhao, P., Wang, L., Jiang, Y., An, C., Liu, A., Hu, Z. and Jin, H. (2017). Size Distribution of Inorganic Elements in Bottom Ashes from Seven Types of Bio-Fuels across Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, China. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 17: 2450-2462. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2017.08.0296


  • Analyzed 39 elements in bottom ashes (BAs) for 7 bio-fuels (BFs).
  • Heavy metal (HM) profiles for different sized BAs within any BFs were similar.
  • The contents of trace elements were well correlated with particle sizes of BAs.
  • V in BAs for corn straws were higher than limits used as soil conditioner.
  • HM profiles for partial BFs were different.



A total of fifty-six bottom ash (BA) samples from the indoor burning of seven bio-fuels (BFs) using a zaotai stove were collected from eight sampling sites across the Beijing-TianjinHebei (BTH) region from April till December in 2016. Each one was divided into six parts as PM+148, PM93–148, PM67–93, PM53–67, PM40–53 and PM–40 using a vibrating screen. The three parts containing the smallest particles, consisting of PM53–67, PM40–53 and PM–40, were selected for analysis of 39 inorganic elements (IEs) using ICP-MS and ICP-OES. The firewood–walnut (WAL) sample had the lowest ash yield as 34.3 ± 3.55 g kg–1; the corresponding values for the 6 crop straws were millet (MIL) > sorghum (SOR) > sesame (SES) > corn (COR) > cotton (COT) > soybean (SOY). The ash yields, in general, positively correlated with the particle sizes of the BAs for all seven BFs. The top eight elements (TEs), namely Si, Ca, Mg, K, P, Al, Na and Ti, dominated in all BAs regardless of their fluctuation among the BFs, and Ʃ8TEs were well correlated with Ʃ39IEs (R2 = 0.99, p < 0.001). The Ʃ39IEs were not correlated with the particle size of the BA due to the significant fluctuation of these TEs. The trace elements, namely Sc, Li, P, V, Cr, Co, Ni, Sb, As, Y, Cs, Bi, Tl, Th, Sn, Cd, La, Ce, Sm, W and U, were negatively well correlated with the particle sizes of the BAs, while the TEs, except for Al, did not display this trend. The heavy metal (HM) profiles were similar between any two sizes of BA for all BFs based on lower values of the coefficient of divergence (CD); with higher CD values, 6 out of 21 pairs of BFs had different HM profiles. All 7 BFs produced higher levels of Zn, Cu, Pb, V, Cr and Ni than other HMs. The content of V in BAs from COR was beyond the limit designated by European countries for BAs used as soil conditioner. The enrichment factors (EFs) of 12 HMs were not correlated with the particle sizes of the BAs, due to the fluctuation of Al, which was used as a reference element among differently sized BAs. The HMs Cu, Zn, Cd and Sn had higher EFs (more than 10), indicating that they were significantly influenced by human activities.

Keywords: Heavy metal; Inorganic element; Bio-fuel; Bottom ash; Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei

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