MercOx (Metrology for oxidised mercury; 16ENV01) is a three years project (2017-2020) funded under EMPIR (The European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research) that has been developed as an integrated part of Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Project is made up of 12 Partner Institutions from 9 countries all with multidisciplinary expertise and experience related to the Hg measurements in the laboratories, fields testing and measurements, and development and validation of different instruments and methodologies. The high scientific quality of the MercOx team is based on the extensive and long-term experience of the partners, which include leading scientists and research institutes in Europe and worldwide. Working part in the project include four work packages (WP), Traceable calibration for oxidised Hg (WP1), Measurement of Hg(II) (WP2), Traceable sampling methods for gaseous Hg species (WP3) and Field applications - on-line and sorbent trap Hg measurements (WP4).
Mercury, emitted by both natural and anthropogenic sources, is highly toxic to humans, animals and ecosystems, and as such is regulated by numerous EU Directives, including the Industrial Emissions Directive, the Air Quality Directive and the Waste Incineration Directive. In addition to its elemental form, mercury exists in reactive oxidized forms that can be transformed into other species, such as methylmercury - the most toxic mercury species and the one most prone to bioaccumulation in aquatic systems. However, currently, traceable calibration methods only exist for elemental mercury.
The overall goal of this project is to develop SI traceable measurements, for the monitoring and control of mercury (Hg) and its different species in gas emission sources and in the atmosphere. In this way, the project will achieve significant improvements in the measurement comparability and uncertainty of Hg measurement results. Currently, traceable calibration methods only exist for elemental mercury (Hg(0)), however such measurements are also needed for oxidised Hg species i.e. Hg(II) in order to meet the requirements of EU regulation and the implementation of the Minamata Convention. Therefore, to address this, this project aims to validate and develop traceable oxidised Hg standards and methods for sampling and analysing oxidised Hg species in flue gas emissions and in the atmosphere.
This project will use results from EMRP projects ENV02 PartEmission and ENV51 MeTra to address this gap in capability and develop traceable measurements, monitoring and control of mercury and its different chemical forms, in both industrial flue gases and in the atmosphere, to improve measurement comparability and uncertainties. This will provide crucial support to the enforcement of future global and European regulations governing mercury pollution, and the protection of human health and the environment.