Coal can often contain high levels of selenium. As a result, wastewater streams from coal-fired power plants frequently have elevated concentrations of selenium, far exceeding industrial target discharge limits.

Removal of selenium from these wastewater streams can present a significant challenge as the effectiveness of most treatment processes relies heavily on the prevalence of a particular selenium species. Power plants that utilize flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems often produce wastewaters that contain selenite, selenate, selenide, selenocyanate, methylseleninic acid, and various other organic selenocompounds. An understanding of which selenium species are present can be crucial when making important decisions regarding the design of wastewater treatment systems.

BRL offers highly advanced analytical services for the determination of selected selenium species by our customized method coupling high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), employing optimized dynamic reaction cell (DRC) parameters. This HPLC-ICP-DRC-MS configuration allows for multi-isotopic detection, high sensitivity, and minimal polyatomic interferences, allowing for the separation and quantification of selenium species such as selenite [Se(IV)], selenate [Se(VI)], selenocyanate [SeCN], selenomethionine [SeMet], and methylseleninic acid [MeSe], while maintaining ultra-low detection limits.

Our typical chromatogram for Selenium Speciation by IC-ICP-MS:

 

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