Profiles of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and polychlorinated biphenyls from the combustion of biomass pellets

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Journal Article
Chemosphere, 2010, 78 (11), pp. 1385 - 1392
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An investigation was made into the emissions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) as well as inorganic gases (e.g. CO) from a wood fired combustion boiler using wood pellets, under two different boiler operating modes. Levels of total PAHs varied from 6.4 and 154 μg m-3, and were found to be dominating in the gas phase (>80%), regardless of pellet type and boiler operating mode. In addition to this, PAH concentrations were higher in slumber mode than in full flame, and increased with the moisture content of pellets, consistent with the lower combustion efficiency in slumber mode (58.6-64.3%) than in full flame (74.4-82.3%). PAHs in the gas phase comprised mainly of low molecular mass compounds, while PAHs in the particulate phase were mostly composed of high molecular mass compounds, consistent with the physicochemical properties of such compounds. In comparison to PAHs, significantly lower concentrations of PCBs (a maximum of 2.5 μg m-3) were released from pellet combustion, consistent with the virgin nature of the pellets. The PCBs in both the gas and particulate phases were dominated by hexachlorinated congeners, although congeners with more chlorine substitution were more abundant in the particulate phase than in gas phase. Significant relationships were established between CO and organic pollutants, and between PAHs and PCBs, which are useful tools for prediction purposes. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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