Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 453–471 | Cite as

Pre-treatments of MSWI fly-ashes: a comprehensive review to determine optimal conditions for their reuse and/or environmentally sustainable disposal

  • Alberto FerraroEmail author
  • Ilenia Farina
  • Marco Race
  • Francesco Colangelo
  • Raffaele Cioffi
  • Massimiliano Fabbricino
Review Paper


The present work aims to provide a comprehensive review of the experimental studies focusing on municipal solid waste incineration fly-ash (FA) treatments that are required before the application of advanced processes aimed at their final reuse or safe disposal. The investigated pre-treatments are divided into three categories: (1) water washing/chemical leaching; (2) electrodialysis; and (3) thermal separation. Analysed aspects include: (1) process efficiency; (2) effect on FA physical–chemical characteristics; and (3) process applicability as a function of secondary FA treatment steps which are generally required for final disposal or reuse of the remediated waste. Investigations related to these elements allows a determination of the efficacy and the operational convenience of a specific pre-treatment to achieve a proper FA remediation level. A comparison of studies in the literature provides a thorough source and a useful basis for correctly addressing future experimental activities and research efforts. The discussion of the results provides the basis for the development of a suitable methodology to optimize the environmentally sustainable reuse or safer disposal of treated FA.


MSWI fly-ash Washing/leaching pre-treatment Electrodialytic remediation Thermal treatment Soluble salts removal Heavy metals recovery 



Dr. Ferraro would like to thank the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) which provided financial support for 12 months post-doctoral grant in the framework of the research project entitled “Dipartimenti di Eccellenza”—CUP E65D18000820006.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of Naples “Federico II”NaplesItaly
  2. 2.Department of EngineeringUniversity of Naples “Parthenope”, Centro Direzionale di NapoliNaplesItaly
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of Cassino and Southern LazioCassinoItaly

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