This study examines the emissions of polychlorinated diphenyl ethers (PCDEs) during the start-up processes of a municipal solid waste incinerator (MSWI). Both normal and modified emission control start-ups were tested. Fifteen samples were taken from the flue gas with increasing furnace temperature. Peak PCDE concentrations of 1.48-10.3ng/Nm3 were observed at 8-11h after the start of combustion, when the furnace temperature was in the range of 267-440°C, that also needed for PCDD/F formation by de novo synthesis. The PCDE emissions could thus, be reduced by current control techniques. Furthermore, the modified control strategies inhibited PCDE formation at the beginning of combustion, and led to an 86% reduction in the maximum PCDE concentration. The overall start-up emissions were calculated as 1.01-3.08mg, while the annual PCDE emissions with one start-up operation were found to be 7.48-9.64mg. However, total PCDE emissions will increase by 12-69% if the number of start-up runs increases to between two and eight times per year. Consequently, the prevention of the unnecessary start-ups and advanced activation of the related emission control system are both efficient ways to reduce PCDE emissions.
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