Discovery and ramifications of incidental Magnéli phase generation and release from industrial coal-burning

Yi Yang, Bo Chen, James Hower, Michael Schindler, Christopher Winkler, Jessica Brandt, Richard Di Giulio, Jianping Ge, Min Liu, Yuhao Fu, Lijun Zhang, Yuru Chen, Shashank Priya, Michael F. Hochella

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Abstract

Coal, as one of the most economic and abundant energy sources, remains the leading fuel for producing electricity worldwide. Yet, burning coal produces more global warming CO2 relative to all other fossil fuels, and it is a major contributor to atmospheric particulate matter known to have a deleterious respiratory and cardiovascular impact in humans, especially in China and India. Here we have discovered that burning coal also produces large quantities of otherwise rare Magnéli phases (Ti x O2x-1 with 4 ≤ x ≤ 9) from TiO2 minerals naturally present in coal. This provides a new tracer for tracking solid-state emissions worldwide from industrial coal-burning. In its first toxicity testing, we have also shown that nanoscale Magnéli phases have potential toxicity pathways that are not photoactive like TiO2 phases, but instead seem to be biologically active without photostimulation. In the future, these phases should be thoroughly tested for their toxicity in the human lung.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number194
JournalNature communications
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Yang, Y., Chen, B., Hower, J., Schindler, M., Winkler, C., Brandt, J., Di Giulio, R., Ge, J., Liu, M., Fu, Y., Zhang, L., Chen, Y., Priya, S., & Hochella, M. F. (2017). Discovery and ramifications of incidental Magnéli phase generation and release from industrial coal-burning. Nature communications, 8(1), [194]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-00276-2