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Variability of total and mobile element contents in ash derived from biomass combustion

Jiřina Száková, Pavla Ochecová, Tomáš Hanzlíček, Ivana Perná, and Pavel Tlustoš

Department of Agroenvironmental Chemistry and Plant Nutrition, Czech University of Life Sciences, Kamýcká 129, CZ-165 21, Prague 6, Czech Republic



Abstract: Seven samples of the ash derived from biomass, representing both fly and bottom ash, were analysed for a wide spectrum of total and mobile contents of nutrient and potentially risk elements. Several techniques, X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry, instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA), proton-induced gamma-ray emission (PIGE) and proton induced X-ray emission (PIXE), inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-OES), and flame atomic absorption spectrometry (F-AAS) were compared. The results showed fairly good agreement between the XRF and INAA results, where the correlation coefficients (r) varied between 0.96 and 0.98. Lower contents documenting insufficient dissolution of the ash samples in the applied acid mixture were observed for both ICP-OES and AAS. In this case, weaker correlation with the INAA results not exceeding r = 0.7 were obtained. Therefore, the sample decomposition step is a bottleneck of the accurate analysis of this type of materials. For the assessment of plant-available portions of the elements in the ash samples, the Mehlich III extraction procedure and the extraction with a 0.11 mol L−1 solution of CH3COOH were applied. The results showed relatively low mobility of the elements (especially micronutrients) in the ash samples regardless of their source and composition, suggesting limited immediate effect of direct ash application as a fertilizer.

Keywords: biomass combustion – fly ash – bottom ash – element contents

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-013-0399-4


Chemical Papers 67 (11) 1376–1385 (2013)

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

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