Release of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and particulate matter from biomass combustion in a wood-fired boiler under varying boiler conditions

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Journal Article
Atmospheric Environment, 2008, 42 (39), pp. 8863 - 8871
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Particulate matter, CO and NO as well as 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in both gaseous and particulate phases were measured in the stack of a woodchip-fired 50 kW boiler used for domestic heating. The concentrations of ΣPAHs in both gas and particle phases varied from 1.3 to 1631.7 μg m-3. Mean CO and NO concentrations varied from 96 to 6002 ppm and from 28 to 359 ppm, respectively. The effects of fuel parameters (moisture content (MC) and tree species) and boiler operating conditions on pollutant concentrations were investigated. A relationship was established between ΣPAHs in gaseous and particulate phases and CO concentrations. The species of tree used for woodchip was less important than MC and boiler operating conditions in affecting pollutant concentrations. It is recommended that in order to minimise PAH release woodchip fuel should have a low MC, and the boiler should be operated with a load demand (high/moderate heat requirement). Slumber modes when the boiler has no load demand and is effectively a smouldering flame should be avoided. This can be achieved by increasing automatic operation capability of wood-fired boilers, for example, by automatically varying fire rates and having auto-start capabilities. The PAH data obtained from this study is particularly useful in contributing to emissions inventories, modelling, and predictions of ambient air quality. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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