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Abstract

Coal combustion processes are the main source of mercury emission to the environment in Poland. Mercury is emitted by both power and heating plants using hard and brown coals as well as in households. With an annual mercury emission in Poland at the level of 10 Mg, the households emit 0.6 Mg. In the paper, studies on the mercury release in the coal and biomass combustion process in household boilers were conducted. The mercury release factors were determined for that purpose. For the analyzed samples the mercury release factors ranged from 98.3 to 99.1% for hard coal and from 99.5% to 99.9% for biomass, respectively. Due to the high values of the determined factors, the amount of mercury released into the environment mainly depends on the mercury content in the combusted fuel. In light of the obtained results, the mercury content in the examined hard coals was 6 times higher than in the biomass (dry basis). Taking the calorific value of fuels into account, the difference in mercury content between coal and biomass decreased, but its content in coal was still 4 times higher. The mercury content determined in that way ranged from 0.7 to 1.7 μg/MJ for hard coal and from 0.1 to 0.5 μg/MJ for biomass, respectively. The main opportunity to decrease the mercury emissions from households is offered by the use of fuels with a mercury content that is as low as possible, as well as by a reduction of fuel consumption. The latter could be obtained by the use of modern boilers as well as by the thermo-modernization of buildings. It is also possible to partially reduce mercury emissions by using dust removal devices.
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Abstract

According to the European Environment Agency (EEA 2018), air quality in Poland is one of the worst in Europe. There are several sources of air pollution, but the condition of the air in Poland is primarily the result of the so-called low-stack emissions from the household sector. The main reason for the emission of pollutants is the combustion of low-quality fuels (mainly low-quality coal) and waste, and the use of obsolete heating boilers with low efficiency and without appropriate filters. The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of measures aimed at reducing low-stack emissions from the household sector (boiler replacement, change of fuel type, and thermal insulation of buildings), resulting from environmental regulations, on the improvement of energy efficiency and the emission of pollutants from the household sector in Poland. Stochastic energy and mass balance models for a hypothetical household, which were used to assess the impact of remedial actions on the energy efficiency and emission of pollutants, have been developed. The annual energy consumption and emissions of pollutants were estimated for hypothetical households before and after the implementation of a given remedial action. The calculations, using the Monte Carlo simulation, were carried out for several thousand hypothetical households, for which the values of the technical parameters (type of residential building, residential building area, unitary energy demand for heating, type of heat source) were randomly drawn from probability distributions developed on the basis of the analysis of the domestic structure of households. The model takes the coefficients of correlation between the explanatory variables in the model into account. The obtained results were multiplied so that the number of hypothetical households was equal to 14.1 million, i.e. the real number of households in Poland. The obtained results allowed for identifying the potential for reducing the emission of pollutants such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, dust, and nitrogen oxides, and improving the energy efficiency as a result of the proposed and implemented measures, aimed at reducing low-stack emission, resulting from the policy. The potential for emissions of gaseous pollutants is 94% for CO, 49% for NOx, 90% for dust, and 87% for SO2. The potential for improving the energy efficiency in households is around 42%.
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Abstract

This paper presents the use of multi-criteria analysis as a tool that helps choosing an adequate technology for a household wastewater treatment plant. In the process of selection the criteria of sustainable development were taken into account. Five municipal mechanical-biological treatment plants were chosen for the comparative multi-criteria analysis. Different treatment technologies, such as sand filter, activated sludge, trickling filter, a hybrid system - activated sludge/trickling filter and a hybrid constructed wetland system VF-HF type (vertical and horizontal fl ow) were taken into account. The plants’ capacities were 1 m3∙d-1 (PE=8) and they all meet the environmental regulations. Additionally, a solution with a drainage system was included into the analysis. On the basis of multi-criteria analysis it was found that the preferred wastewater treatment technologies, consistent with the principles of sustainable development, were a sand filter and a hybrid constructed wetland type VF-HF. A drainage system was chosen as the best solution due to the economic criteria, however, taking into consideration the primary (ecological) criterion, employment of such systems on a larger scale disagree with the principles of sustainable development. It was found that activated sludge is the least favourable technology. The analysis showed that this technology is not compatible with the principles of sustainable development, due to a lack of proper technological stability and low reliability.
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